Because of its detailed ring system, Saturn is known as the “jewel of the solar system.” Saturn’s rings stretch from edge-to-edge as wide as 175,000 miles, about the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Even though the other gas planets in our solar system have a series of rings, Saturn’s system of rings is the most prominent and well known. However, a new exoplanet–some 420 light years from Earth–has been discovered with a ring system that dwarfs any ring system ever before seen; it is a ring system over 200 times larger than the rings of Saturn.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has traveled roughly 3 billion miles at this point and it’s finally set its sights on the dwarf planet Ceres. Images of Ceres were released back in December, but those images were just for calibration. Dawn’s recently captured pictures are about 27 pixels across, about three times better than what it took last month.
Dr. Carter Emmart, Producer of Dark Universe and director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space, will present a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the most accurate three-dimensional mapping data of the universe was used to create the show’s beautiful visual effects.
On January 26th keep your eye to the sky to catch the closest an asteroid will pass Earth until the year 2027.
This program is held in partnership with Geauxing Places Travel & Hurtigruten.
Visit www.LASM.org for more details.
January 3rd will mark 2015’s first meteor shower: The Quadrantids. This traditional meteor shower starts the year off and peaks at about 9pm ET on Saturday.