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10 Things for the Week of April 27 - May 3
Columnist: Autumn Burdick

10 Things for the Week of April 27 - May 3
25 April 2014

Ever think about spatial awareness? Do you use it to remember? This week's edition of 10 Things involves space and place.

If you are down under you will be able to see the sun slip behind the moon. And it's been 20 years since we first saw the underside of the moon. These and other milestones -- keep reading for more.

1. DOWN UNDER AND BEHIND

Australia will experience an annular solar eclipse on Tuesday, April 29th.

An annular solar eclipse is when the moon comes directly between the Earth and the sun and causes a ring of sun-color to encircle the dark silhouette of the moon.

2. WARNING

Never look directly at the sun with the naked eye or with binoculars or a telescope -- you will damage your eyes.

Please take care and only view the solar eclipse through special sun-safe glasses. (Try searching solar eclipse glasses online). Or better yet -- why not make your own pinhole projector to view it?

3. SOUTH

Saturday, May 3rd is the 20th anniversary of the Clementine spacecraft leaving lunar orbit. Clementine was the first spacecraft to photograph the lunar south pole.

There, the spacecraft found evidence for ice in the permanently shadowed craters.

4. ULYSSES

May 1st is the 18th anniversary of Ulysses' encounter with comet Hyakutake (1996).

This encounter revealed that comet tails were much longer than previously thought. Hyakutake's tail extended half a billion kilometers (more than 300 million miles) -- that's more than three times the distance from the Earth to the sun. The discovery marked the longest comet tail recorded at the time.

5. SEA NYMPH

On May 1st (in 1949) astronomer Gerard Kuiper discovered Neptune's moon Nereid. Nereid was the second moon of Neptune to be discovered and it is the third largest moon of Neptune. (Triton is the largest moon of Neptune.)

Nereid was also the last moon of Neptune to be discovered before Voyager 2 arrived 40 years later. There, Voyager discovered an additional six moons.

6. GENESIS

For over two years, beginning in 2001, Genesis gathered solar wind samples in space. These samples were then returned in a capsule to Earth (September 2004).

Part of the process to return its gathered solar wind samples, the Genesis mission flew by Earth 10 years ago, Thursday (May 1, 2004).

7. BENNU

Near-Earth asteroid, and target for the upcoming OSIRIS-Rex mission, 101955 Bennu (also designated 1999 RQ36) will make its closest approach to Earth (1.635 AU) on May 2nd.

OSIRIS-Rex is an asteroid sample-return mission.

8. HABITABLE

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STSCI) will be hosting a symposium titled: Habitable Worlds Across Time and Space in Baltimore, Md. Check out the link below for more information.

9. CARL SAGAN

Want to view childhood home movies of Carl Sagan? Finding Our Place in the Cosmos: From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond, through the Library of Congress online, is a collection of materials available for your perusal.

This Library of Congress online collection has three sections:

--Models of the cosmos throughout history
--History of the possibility of life on other worlds
--Carl Sagan's life and contributions to science and society

10. STARSTRUCK

Since you cannot look directly at the sun and because we have been somewhat focused on the sun ... why not take a look at our sun section and learn more about your neighborhood's star.


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: 25 Apr 2014