The Moon and Sun: Two or three times a year, the Solar Dynamics Observatory observes the moon traveling across the sun, blocking its view.
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The Solar System Exploration Division conducts theoretical and experimental research to explore the solar system and understand the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Laboratories within the Division investigate areas as diverse as astrochemistry, planetary atmospheres, extrasolar planetary systems, earth science, planetary geodynamics, space geodesy, and comparative planetary studies.
To study how planetary systems form and evolve, Division scientists develop theoretical models as well as the investigations and space instruments to test them. The researchers participate in planetary and earth science missions; collect, interpret, and evaluate measurements; and publish conclusions based on this research. The Division archives and disseminates the data, provides expert user support, and offers education and public outreach programs about the Division's science missions and services.