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10 Things for the Week of November 24 - 30
Columnist: Autumn Burdick

10 Things for the Week of November 24 - 30
22 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving. What do you think about when you consider the Thanksgiving holiday?

Turkey ... Football ... Stuffing ... Pilgrims ... Yams ... Family ... Mashed Potatoes ... Time-Off ... Pie ... Games ... Food Coma ... Comets ...?

Comet ISON is making its approach towards the sun and will arrive at perihelion around the time some of you may be sitting down to give thanks this Thursday (at 1:44 p.m. (EST)).

In this week's 10 Things Blog, learn more about this comet and how you can participate in its close encounter, plus a few other things.

1. PILGRIMAGE

First discovered in September 2012 by Russian astronomers, Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, this comet is rapidly making its way to close approach with the sun, which will take place on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28, 2013).

If ISON survives the intense heat and energy of the sun, it could grace the skies of the Northern Hemisphere during December and January. Already astronomers and the interested public have been viewing and imaging this comet as it is traveling closer to the sun. You can view it too -- just look to the eastern horizon an hour before sunrise.

Access all of our comet ISON related news, imagery, video and materials in our comet ISON toolkit.

2. PIONEER

Ever think about the word "pioneer" and what it means? Pioneers are trailblazers and sometimes those trails are in the far off reaches beyond our own planet.

This Sunday, November 24th is the 18th anniversary of final contact with the Pioneer 11 spacecraft. Pioneer 11 was the first mission to visit Saturn and while there discovered the planet's F-ring and a new moon.

3. HAPPY THANKSGIVING

A little closer to home -- this Thursday, November 28th is Thanksgiving Day. It was President Lincoln who instituted Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1963. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by Pilgrims and Native Americans at Plymouth after a successful harvest.

Did you know that eel was a part of the meal that first Thanksgiving? These days, eel is not on the "Top-10 List" of Thanksgiving favorites. However, the sun will be cooking a comet for Thanksgiving. Want the recipe? Click on the below.

4. SDO IS GO

Beginning at about 12:45 p.m. (EST) on Thanksgiving Day (November 28, 2013) you can view near-real time images and video of comet ISON as it approaches and exits perihelion (closest approach to the sun). These images are going to be taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

5. SUNGRAZERS

Comet ISON is a sungrazing comet. This special kind of comet can be pretty spectacular if it survives its close encounter with the sun. Don't know too much about sungrazing comets? We have the perfect resource for you -- our new Sungrazing Comets Interactive Infographic.

6. ISON RESOURCE

Have other questions about comet ISON and comets in general? Check out the comet ISON FAQs page.

7. VIEWING EVENT

The Sedgwick County Science and Discovery Center in Kansa is having a comet ISON viewing event on Friday, November 29th, when ISON will have exited its closest approach to the sun. If ISON survives, it could put on a pretty good show. Check with your local museum or observatory for other ISON observing events in your area.

8. DOPPLER EFFECT

Friday, November 29th is the 210th anniversary of Austrian mathematician and physicist Christian Doppler's birth. It was Doppler who hypothesized the Doppler Effect.

The Doppler Effect is: "The apparent change in frequency of sound or light waves, varying with the relative velocity of the source and the observer. If the source and observer draw closer together, the frequency is increased." -- NASA Earth Observatory

Comet ISON is drawing closer.

9. FUN TIMES

It's National Game and Puzzles Week this week. Try your puzzle skills in our game section of Solar System 101. There you will find puzzles that range from easy to insane. There is even a comet puzzle (its the one in the center), and as of posting no one has been able to complete the "insane" version of this one yet. Will it be you?

10. HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Check out our home, err ... homepage. We have a surprise for you this Thanksgiving.


Read More by Autumn Burdick

About: Autumn Burdick
Photo of Autumn Burdick
Autumn is the science writer who enjoys bringing this weekly look at upcoming events and stories from around our solar system to you. Follow SSE on Twitter: @NASASolarSystem
Read More by Autumn Burdick
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Last Updated: 22 Nov 2013