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10 Things for the Week of Feb. 24 - March 2
Columnist: The Authors

10 Things for the Week of Feb. 24 - March 2
21 February 2013

Autumn Burdick
This week's look at upcoming events and
stories from around our solar system is
brought to you by guest blogger Autumn Burdick.

In Hollywood, Calif. stars line the sidewalks, and this weekend many will walk the Walk of Fame to glimpse at celebrities during this Sunday's Academy Awards. However, Sunday is not the only day full of star-power.


Nat King Cole and others may sing about a paper moon in the oft sung song, but this Monday the moon will be full and quite real. If you happen to be in Hollywood on Monday, February 25th, the moon will rise at 6:02 p.m. to clear skies with no chance of showers (predicted at time of posting). So go on out and enjoy a beautiful natural sight -- perhaps you might do some singing yourself?


William Holden may have won an Oscar for his role in "Stalag 17," but add asteroid to his list of accolades as well. Asteroid 9340 Williamholden will make its closest approach this week on Monday, February 25th.


And on the 27th, asteroid 5203 Pavarotti -- named after tenor Luciano Pavarotti of opera fame -- will have its close flyby.


Wondering why there are asteroids named after actors and opera singers? Want to learn about how asteroids are named? Check out the link below. Maybe someday you will have an asteroid named for you?


Wednesday (February 27th) marks the 116th birthday of Bernard Lyot (1897-1952). Lyot is the inventor of the coronagraph. A coronagraph is an instrument which studies the sun's outer atmosphere, the corona. It is this instrument that allows us to catch glimpses of sun-diving comets and view the sun's coronal mass ejections -- without it, the sun would just be too bright.


While en route to dwarf-planet Pluto, and the far-off reaches of the Kuiper Belt, New Horizons is often in what is known as "sleep mode." However, this sleeping beauty is awakened every so often for spacecraft health checks and special flybys. And on February 28th, New Horizons will celebrate an anniversary: It has been six years since New Horizons flew by and imaged the largest planet in our solar system. Going where no spacecraft has gone before and getting in some great photo tours -- definitely star status.


You might want to do some star gazing this week. You may just catch sight of some meteors or even a fireball. Sightings of such phenomena has been occurring several times in recent days since the meteor fall in Russia on February 15th.


It's been 41 years come Saturday, March 2nd, but who can forget such a success. In a break-out role, Pioneer 10 was the first to fly beyond Mars' orbit, the first to fly through the asteroid belt and the first to fly close to gas-giant Jupiter. As it passed through the Jupiter system, Pioneer 10 transmitted hundreds of photos of the planet and its moons, along with measurements of the Jovian atmosphere.


Asteroids aren't the only space objects named for famous people. Craters on the planet Mercury are named for famous deceased artists, musicians and authors. Dr. Seuss, who would have been 99 years old on Saturday, March 2nd, has a crater on Mercury named for him. Did you know that Dr. Seuss also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." -- Dr. Seuss, from "Happy Birthday to You!"


Speaking of Mercury -- Did you know that February is a great month to view the closest planet to the sun? Just look to the horizon at sunset. Mercury will have made its highest point above the horizon on February 16th, but you still can view it until the end of the month.

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This weekly look at upcoming events and stories is brought to you by the NASA solar system exploration communications team. Join the conversation: @NASASolarSystem
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Last Updated: 27 Feb 2013