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Solar System - Small bodies of Solar System Topics

  • AsteroidsHave Seasons, Too

    2000Sept. 20, 2011

    Earth isn't the only world where seasons are changing this week. Millions of miles from our planet, southern winter is giving way to spring on asteroid 433 Eros. As the Sun rises over the south pole of Eros, instruments on NASA's NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft will catch a glimpse of never-before-seen terrain.

  • Lunar Leonids 2000

    2000April 6, 2011

    Next month The Moonwill plow through a stream of debris from comet Tempel-Tuttle, the parent of the Leonid meteor shower. Meteoroids that strike The Moondon't cause shooting stars as they do on our planet. Instead, they hit the lunar terrain at high speed. Scientists will be watching for signs of impacts as The Moonheads for a close encounter with the Leonids.

  • Leonids Galore

    2000April 6, 2011

    The art of predicting Leonid Meteorsofficially became a science this weekend as sky watchers around the globe enjoyed three predicted episodes of shooting stars. This story includes video and some unusual pictures of Leonid fireballs.

  • Here Comes Comet Linear

    2000April 6, 2011

    Comet 1999 LINEAR S4, which can already be seen through binoculars, is expected to become a faint naked-eye object similar in appearance to the Andromeda Nebula as it glides by the Big Dipper this month. Maximum brightness is expected on July 23, 2000.

  • NEAR Orbit Insertion

    2000April 6, 2011

    NASA's NEAR spacecraft has entered orbit around asteroid 433 Eros.

  • Hubble Discovers Missing Pieces of Comet LINEAR

    2000April 6, 2011

    To the surprise and delight of astronomers, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a small armada of "mini-comets" left behind by what seemed to be a total disintegration of the explosive comet LINEAR.

  • Millennium Meteors

    2000April 6, 2011

    One of the most intense annual meteor showers, the Quadrantids, will peak over North America on January 3, 2001. Sky watchers could see an impressive outburst numbering as many as 100 shooting stars per hour.

  • Strangers in the Night

    2000April 6, 2011

    During an unplanned rendezvous, the Ulysses spacecraft found itself gliding though the immense tail of Comet Hyakutake, revealing that comet tails may be much longer than previously believed. Ulysses was hundreds of millions of kilometers away from Hyakutake when the unexpected encounter took place.

  • Moonlit Meteors

    2000April 6, 2011

    The oldest known meteor shower peaks on the morning of April 22 just four days after the Full Moon. Bright moonlight will reduce the number of shooting stars that are easy to see, but many meteor enthusiasts will be watching anyway because it's been over 3 months since the last major meteor shower.

  • Hot X-rays from a Cold Comet

    2000April 6, 2011

    Normally, x-ray astronomers concern themselves with the most violent and fiery denizens of the Universe. But, last month researchers solved a cosmic mystery when they turned Chandra toward Comet LINEAR, a chilly snowball from the outer solar system.