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Solar System Events Calendar 2018 - 2019

Bringing you 90 days worth of solar system events. These include things of up-coming interest like equinoxes and solstices, major spacecraft events, and things you can see with your naked eye like eclipses and comets.

Taurids Meteor Shower

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The Taurids are an annual meteor shower associated with the comet Encke. They are named after their radiant point in the constellation Taurus, where they are seen to come from in the sky. Because of their occurrence in late October and early November, they are also called Halloween fireballs. Due to the gravitational perturbations of planets, especially Jupiter, the Taurids have spread out over time, allowing separate segments labeled the Northern Taurids (NTA) and Southern Taurids (STA) to become observable. The Southern Taurids are active from about September 10 to November 20, while the Northern Taurids are active from about October 20 to December 10. LinkEnds:

Orionids Meteor Shower

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The Orionids are generated by dust from Halley's Comet. It produces about 20 meteors per hour at its peak - usually on the 21st, but it is highly irregular. A good show could be experienced on any morning from October 20 - 25. Best viewing is east after midnight. Visible in northern and southern hemispheres. LinkEnds:

Launch of BepiColumbo Mission to Mercury

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The joint ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission will launch on an Ariane 5 from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, setting a trio of spacecraft on course for Mercury. The spacecraft will travel together: a transfer module will carry the two science orbiters - the ESA Mercury Planetary Orbiter and the JAXA Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter - using a combination of solar power and electric propulsion, and nine gravity-assist flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury. Arrival will be in 2025. Link

Leonids Meteor Shower

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The Leonids (generated by comet Tempel-Tuttle) can be quite a prolific shower with between 15 and hundreds of meteors per hour - but averaging around 40. The activity peaks every 33 years with the last peak in 2001. It is usually most active on November 17 and 18. Look for the shower radiating from the constellation Leo after midnight. Visible in northern and southern hemispheres. LinkEnds:

InSight to land on Mars

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InSight will land on Mars and then, over the next days, deploy its instruments and begin sending science data back in October. By using sophisticated geophysical instruments, InSight will delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the fingerprints of the processes of terrestrial planet formation, as well as measuring the planet's "vital signs": Its "pulse" (seismology), "temperature" (heat flow probe), and "reflexes" (precision tracking). Link

OSIRIS-REx officially arrives at asteroid Bennu

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NASA's Asteroid sample return mission will complete it's approach of asteroid Bennu. It will now being surverying the asteroid for a year with a view to collecting a sample for return to earth in 2023. Link

Geminids Meteor Shower

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The Geminids originate from 3200 Phaethon which is an asteroid whose orbit takes it close to the sun. The heat of the sun causes a dust tail to be formed which gives rise to the Geminids. The Geminids are known for producing up to 60 multicolored meteors per hour at their peak at around the 13th-14th December. although some meteors should be visible from December 6 - 19. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight. Visible in northern and southern hemispheres. LinkEnds:

Ursids Meteor Shower

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The Ursids appear to be linked to the comet 8P/Tuttle. They produce around 10 meteors per hour at their peak and can be seen in the northern hemisphere after midnight. LinkEnds:

December Solstice

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The shortest day for the northern hemisphere and the longest for the southern hemisphere.

Quadrantids Meteor Shower

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The object responsible for the origin of the Quadrantids is not certain. This shower is often difficult to observe because it has a very sharp peak in activity which lasts only for a few hours. The peak occurs around the 3rd/4th January with around 90 meteors per hour. Visible in the northern hemisphere. LinkEnds:

Partial Solar Eclipse

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A moderate partial eclipse, with 71% of the Sun covered for viewers closest to the center, will create an interesting spectacle for observers from north-east China, Japan, and eastern Russia. LinkEnds: