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Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Earlier this month, Mars was at opposition, which is the point in their orbits when Mars, Earth and the sun all line up, making for good conditions to view the Red Planet from Earth.

Now, it’s Saturn’s turn. The ringed planet will be at opposition on June 3, and this week is a great time to see it — both in the sky as well as up close, thanks to our spacecraft. Here are a few things to know about Saturn exploration this week:

1. Group Portrait

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Thanks to their current orbital positions, our sun-observing spacecraft STEREO-A was recently able to capture the sun, Saturn, Mars and Earth in one image. Take a closer look HERE. Discover more about the STEREO mission HERE.

2. Likable, Lick-able Saturn

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Saturn’s handsome visage is featured among the new stamps that the US Postal Service is releasing this week to highlight our adventures in planetary exploration.

3. Do You Even Know Saturn?

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Yes, yes, it’s the one with the rings. But did you know Saturn has winds that can exceed 1000 miles per hour? Or that its magnetic field is hundreds of times as powerful as the Earth’s? Or that its day is just 10 hours long? How well do you really know the sixth planet?

4. Picking Up Signals

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

One thing you many not know about the planet is that it’s loud, at least if you listen to its radio signals. When our robotic Cassini spacecraft first approached Saturn, it detected the powerful fields that surround it. Engineers turned those signals into beautiful, eerie sounds. Listen to them HERE.

5.  Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

The Cassini mission’s explorations of the Saturn system are very much ongoing. In the next few days, the spacecraft will be touring many locations, including the giant moon Titan, Saturn’s turbulent clouds, the tiny moon Albiorix and more! Get the full itinerary HERE.

Want to learn more? Read our full list of the 10 things to know this week about the solar system HERE.

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