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March’s topic for NASA’s Year of the Solar System (YSS) – Shadows of the Sun!
Join us in March as we celebrate Sun-Earth Day and prepare for a rare transit of Venus! Between June 5-6, 2012, people around the world will see the planet Venus move across the front of the Sun, creating the last Venus transit as seen from Earth until the year 2117!
Scientists use solar missions to study the Sun as an example of the closest star and examine how its radiation, energetic particles, and powerful magnetic field affect our planet. Others try to model the complex layers and processes within the Sun, and analyze particles from the Sun to learn more about the formation of our solar system. The Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) (http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/) mission is studying how solar activity is created and how space weather comes from that activity by taking measurements of the interior of the Sun, the Sun's magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the irradiance that creates the ionospheres of the planets. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) mission (http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/) is an international collaboration between NASA and the European Space agency; the mission studies the Sun from its deep core to the outer corona and the solar wind. The two nearly-identical spacecraft of the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) mission (http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov) – one ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing behind – have traced the flow of energy and matter from the Sun to Earth and revealed the 3D structure of coronal mass ejections.
Visit the YSS website (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss/display.cfm?Year=2012&Month=3) to find activities for classroom and informal learning environments to explore Shadows of the Sun in your programs! You will also find information about night-sky viewing events and mission milestones, recommended resources, and downloadable materials all connected to this month’s theme!
Celebrate Sun-Earth Day!
Sun-Earth Day is held annually on or near the spring equinox; this year it will be celebrated on March 19. Because 2012 is very special year filled with a variety of celestial events, a theme was selected to help you explore the nature of eclipses and transits throughout our solar system: welcome to "Shadows of the Sun!" The Sun-Earth Day website (http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2012) has a variety of resources and ways to get involved and will continue to be populated with the latest information about upcoming programs, background resources, sample activities, and registration information for Sun-Earth Day and the upcoming transit of Venus on June 5! In addition to the Venus transit, an annular solar eclipse will be visible in the western United States on May 20, and there will be a lunar eclipse visible in Hawaii on June 4.
To receive monthly emails with updates about Sun-Earth Day events, sign up on the Sun-Earth Day website here: http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/registration/login.php.
Get Involved! Share Your YSS Events and Stories
Are you planning to hold a celebration for Sun-Earth Day or other events in March? We need your help in spreading the excitement of the Year of the Solar System! Through the Get Involved section of the website, you can advertise your YSS Events by registering them on the YSS Calendar. Once your events are complete, be sure to share your YSS stories and pictures through the YSS story space, Flickr, and YouTube, all accessible from the Get Involved page.
This month, get involved by participating in Sun-Earth Day! More information about ways to get involved with Sun-Earth Day, whether you’re an educator, a scientist, an amateur astronomer, or putting on a public outreach event, can be found here: http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2012/getinvolved/.
The GLOBE at Night campaign also continues this month; participate in the project from March 13 to 22 and submit your observations online here: http://www.globeatnight.org/.
Observing Opportunities in March
Another way to get involved with YSS is to hold an observing event; March is an excellent month for viewing objects in the night sky – or the daytime! View the Sun using safe projection techniques or through a telescope with a specialized filter. Venus and Jupiter are near each other, shining brightly in the west after sunset throughout the month, and on March 25-26, both planets are very close to the Moon in the sky. Mars is bright in the east after sunset and gradually moves high in the sky by the end of the month. Make sure to register your event and share stories, photos, and video of the event through the Get Involved page (link above)!
Check out the YSS March “Events” tab to find more observing events and resources! http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss/display.cfm?Year=2012&Month=3&Tab=Events
YSS Monthly Science Series Webinar: Hot Topics in Solar System Ices – March 6
Tuesday, March 6 at 12:00pm PT / 1:00pm MT / 2:00pm CT / 3:00pm ET
Join us for this month’s YSS Science Series Webinar: “Hot Topics in Solar System Ices” presented by Dr. Britney Schmidt!
From Mercury to the Kuiper Belt, ices play an important role in the evolution of planetary bodies. As the most prevalent form of water, ice is also a tracer of possible habitats for life. In this talk, we will explore icy environments across the solar system, focusing most of our attention on the rich diversity of outer planet icy moons. Dr. Schmidt will highlight exciting new prospects for ice in the asteroid belt and the implications this may have for the earliest stages of planet formation. She will also discuss how scientists are using our own back yard, the Earth, to learn more about distant icy worlds.
Dr. Britney Schmidt is the Dawn Mission Science Team E/PO Liaison and is based at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics.
Date: Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Time: 12:00pm PT / 1:00pm MT / 2:00pm CT / 3:00pm ET
Meeting Number: 398 156 697
Meeting Password: iges*123
NOTE: Firefox is unreliable for Webex meetings (especially in OS X).
This event will be simulcast via the NASA iDLN Channel: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/dln/webcast/webc...
To join the online meeting (Now from iPhones and other Smartphones too!)
1. Go to https://nasa.webex.com/nasa/j.php?ED=1017573&UID=0&PW=NYzNhNjIyZjZl&RT=M...
2. Enter your name and email address.
3. Enter the meeting password: iges*123
4. Click "Join Now".
To view in other time zones or languages, please click the link:
To join the audio conference:
The audio portion of the meeting will be available via telephone (or Skype).
At the start of the meeting,
Enter passcode: 8226297
Closed Captions will be made available during the meeting.
1. Go to https://nasa.webex.com/nasa/mc
2. On the left navigation bar, click "Support".
A “Tweetable” announcement in 140 characters or less:
NASA’s Year of the Solar System March Topic is Shadows of the Sun! Check out http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss #nasayss
Get Social with YSS
YSS is online in many places! Be sure to follow YSS announcements and happenings:
Facebook: Our Solar System
Twitter: Our Solar System
Add #nasayss to your YSS tweets!
Flickr: Our Solar System
Ideas? Feedback? Contact us!
If you have a great activity or event that integrates engineering, we want to know about it! Contact us through the Get Involved page or the email address above!
Link to YSS from Your Website
Promote the Year of the Solar System on your website using an embedded widget to display the YSS graphic and link to the YSS website. Go to http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss/embed.cfm for the widget.
You can find other YSS graphics at http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss/downloads.cfm.
YSS Friends and Partners Page
Let us know if you want to share YSS and be listed as a YSS Friend and Partner!
Explore the From Earth to the Solar System (FETTSS) Gallery
From Earth to the Solar System (FETTSS) is a stunning collection of high-resolution images that showcases the excitement of planetary exploration—our journey to understand the origin and evolution of the Solar System, and our search for life elsewhere. The images are at once artistic and informative, weaving together themes in astrobiology, planetary science, and astronomy. Including contributions from backyard astronomers, large telescopes in space, and even point-and-shoot cameras of field researchers, the collection represents the current state of exploration as seen through the eyes of the scientific community.
Take some time to browse the 90+ breath-taking images in the collection - created to celebrate NASA’s Year of the Solar System. You are invited to download the images that appeal to you and host an exhibit in your venue or community. Information for how to exhibit can be found at: http://fettss.arc.nasa.gov/how-exhibit/.
Sneak Peak! Upcoming in the Year of the Solar System
In celebration of Earth Day, April’s YSS theme is Ice! Ice is found all over the solar system, from Earth, Mars, and the icy satellites of the outer planets to places you might not expect, like the Moon! Visit the YSS website for April 2012 (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss/display.cfm?Year=2012&Month=4) and be sure to look for next month’s newsletter for more information about this exciting topic!
Tips for Using the YSS Website
Want to register your event on the YSS website? Just click on the Get Involved link on the left sidebar, click the Register Your Event button in the middle section of the page under the map and Upcoming Events, fill out the form, and click Send email! We want to know about your YSS events, even if they are not open to the public; non-public events will not be posted on the map or list of upcoming events.