Pick of The Week
 
 

Dance of the Music of the Spheres (September 23, 2004)

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This week begins a new dance of the planets as seen by SOHO. Since August 23, Mars has moved rather slowly from left to right in our LASCO C3 field of view. However, it is passing behind the Sun right now and is not visible. Since September 12 SOHO has seen Jupiter, the bright object in the upper left corner of the LASCO C2 instrument as it crosses also from left to right and begins to overtake Mars. Interesting, but this is merely the prelude: on September 26th, Mercury will appear as well in the broader field of view provided by the C3 instrument, crossing the other way, from right to left. It will be seen as an object that is somewhat similar in brightness to the others. Most notably of all, their paths will bring them visually very close to each other (within one degree) on September 29th. Although these planets are just moving through their orbits around the Sun per usual, such a convergence is fairly rare and is unique to SOHO as the only observer of the sky able to observe this phenomenon so close to the Sun..

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Previous Picks of the Week

SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.

If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to steele.hill@gsfc.nasa.gov.

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