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Name(s): Grade: Handout 6 Nasa Podcasts Whats up for March 2012? 1.

1. Read the text below and highlight: Names of planets yellow Cardinal points blue Months of the year green A season of the year red On March ______ Mars reaches opposition, when it's closest to Earth in its ______-year orbit. This year Mars won't be very close, though. At best, it will be ______ million miles or ______ million kilometers from Earth.

At each future opposition until ______, Mars will be closer to Earth and will appear even more impressive. Even though you'll need a telescope to see any markings -- like the north polar cap -- it's fun to imagine where NASA's Mars landers and rovers are. The Phoenix lander site is not too far from the north pole, while the rovers Spirit and Opportunity are closer to the equator of Mars. On March ______ Mercury reaches its highest altitude in the sunset sky. You'll easily see its phase through a telescope. Have you been watching Jupiter and Venus, the two bright planets in the west? On March ______ and ______ they meet and pass one another. Venus is the brighter of the two, and through a telescope you can see its half-lit phase.

Use the moon as a guide to Mars on March ______ late in the evening. And let the moon guide you to Saturn on the ______th and ______th. At sunset on the ______th look for the moon near Jupiter. On the ______th it's near Venus.

March ______ is Sun-Earth Day. Many people around the world will celebrate it on or near the spring Equinox: March ______ or ______ with safe solar viewing parties, the only way you should ever look directly at the sun. And there should be more safe solar viewing parties for the June ______ transit of Venus. Lucky observers will see the planet Venus as it crosses the disc of the sun. 2. Listen to the Whats up for March at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/whatsup2012March.html and fill in the gaps with numbers. 3. According to the passage, are the following sentences True (T) or False (F)? a) ( ) You need a telescope to see the Mars north polar cap. b) ( c) ( ) Jupiter and Saturn are bright planets in the east. ) On March 25 the moon is near Jupiter and on March 26 it is near ) The spring Equinox this year is on June 5th. ) If you are lucky you can see Venus on June 5th.

Venus. d) ( e) (