The existence of our solar system's innermost planet has been common knowledge since ancient times, but that doesn't actually mean we've always know much about it. Mercury's proximity to the Sun has allowed it to jealously guard its secrets, and so this NASA video offers an unprecedentedly detailed view of the…
Planets have to start out somewhere, and the leading theory is that they begin as dust particles clumping together to form larger and larger building blocks, before finally emerging eons later as full-blown planets. But the exact physics that would allow such clumps to form has long been frustratingly unclear.
Remember 55 Cancri e? Sure you do — and if you don't, you should. After all, it may be the first diamond planet ever discovered that orbits a Sun-like star. At least we think it is; if there's one thing 55 Cancri e is good at, it's fooling astronomers into thinking it's something that it's not.
After spending an eternity rocketing through the interstellar void, rogue planets can sometimes end their travels and find new solar systems to call home. But these adoptive parent stars aren't all that welcoming of their new planets.
At first glance, there doesn't seem to be anything particularly remarkable about star HIP 11952 and its two planets. But its iron-poor composition reveals these planets are 13 billion years old — almost as ancient as the Big Bang itself.
The wildest ride in the galaxy is found on hypervelocity planets. These worlds got too close to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, and have been flung away at a twentieth of the speed of light.
The latest estimates suggest there are at least 160 billion exoplanets in the Milky Way alone, which means there could easily be several billion potentially habitable worlds in our galaxy. But are all these Earth-like planets really like our home?
We now estimate that every star in the galaxy has at least one planet, but that is leaving aside the potentially billions more planets that were ejected from their solar system and are now hurtling through the universe all alone.
There could be over 150 billion planets in our galaxy alone, which makes the chances of life on other words look very solid indeed. But there's one snag: the universe's most common stars might not support life at all.
This striking image from the Cassini orbiter shows Saturn's northern hemisphere engulfed in a massive storm that has raged for well over a year. This storm was bigger than Earth when it began, and it's since gotten even more massive.
NASA's Kepler telescope has now identified an insane 2,326 possible exoplanets. What's particularly shocking is how many of these planets are giant rocky planets known as Super-Earths, which defies everything we thought we knew about planet formation.
A few months back, astronomers discovered a diamond planet formed from the remnants of an exploded star. It looked like a cosmic oddity, but giant diamond-encrusted planets might be way more common than we ever suspected.
Many galaxies have gigantic black holes located at their center, but we're not usually able to actually see just how gigantic they are. Supermassive black holes are shrouded in huge dust clouds...which might be essential for the development of life.
The asteroid belt is full of remnants of the ancient solar system, giant clumps of rock that might have formed a planet under different circumstances. Now we've found the first asteroid that's exactly how it was billions of years ago.
This solar system just doesn't work. According to a new computer simulation, the planets could never have come together in their current configuration. The only explanation is that we once had a fifth gas giant...and it's still out there somewhere.
All planets are vast clumps of dust and gas packed together by gravity. If there's lots of material, a gas giant is the result. If there isn't much material, you get a rocky planet. At least, that's what we thought.
Exoplanet Kepler-19b orbits its star in ways that violate the laws of physics, speeding up and slowing down its orbit for no apparent reason. The only explanation is a second, hidden planet...making it the first "phantom" exoplanet ever found.
We've got over 4 minutes of excellent ape footage that humanizes poor chimp Caesar — and makes Stargate's David Hewlett look like a galloping jackass. Rodney McKay, you leave that nice man alone.
Last week saw Neptune Day, the first anniversary - in Neptune years - of the planet's discovery on September 23, 1846. That got us thinking: what are the "birthdays" for all the other planets? Here's a handy, mildly insane guide.