On January 24th, 1986, Voyager 2 swept past our system’s seventh planet, Uranus, on its way through the solar system. It was the first and last time we visited the gas giant, and we found it’s one of the stranger locations in our solar system.
There could be a new ninth planet floating beyond the dark edges of our solar system, according to new research published in The Astronomical Journal from CalTech professors Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin.
A pair of new studies claim to have discovered two of the most distant objects ever seen in the outer reaches of the Solar System, including a “Super Earth” located six times further away than Pluto. It’s an extraordinary claim — and it’s also highly unlikely.
Water ice from a subterranean ocean? Giant salt deposits from an alien mining operation? Since March, dwarf planet Ceres’ bright spots have mystified scientists, dazzled space nerds, and sparked all manner of wild speculation. A study published today in Nature has the answers we’ve been waiting for. Ceres, you are one…
Whoosh! Did you see that? It may look a bit scrappy, but the tiny white projectile at the center of the animation below—officially called 1994 JR1— is a cosmic time capsule, brought to you by a piano-sized spacecraft over 3 billion miles away. You’re looking at the closest picture yet of a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) by…
Our biggest planet in the solar system is also one of the best: it’s got crazy weather systems, it’s probably saved Earth from enormous impacts, and it’s got hundreds of moons orbiting it. The Atlantic goes over all the ways Jupiter is their favorite planet.
Yesterday, we looked at an interactive infographic on the relative orbits of everything in the solar system. Today, let’s compare the planets to one another. This site shows us how all of the solar system’s planets (and Pluto) stack up.
This is pretty awesome: an interactive map of the solar system that lets you see how the major objects in our solar system move around the sun. Click and drag to see where everything will be relative to one another at any given date.
Pluto has been puzzling us with its weirdly smooth surface, but if it’s the first Kuiper Belt Object we’ve visited, how did we know how many craters to expect in the first place? Here’s everything we’ve figured out about collisions in this chaotic area of our Solar System.
Space is really, really big, and there’s been a couple of great videos out there that show off the relative size of objects. This video puts the scale of the solar system into real perspective by showing how it takes you pass through the solar system at the speed of light.
New Horizons is just days away from Pluto, and it’s beaming back some incredible images. In the latest set, the probe has shown us that the dwarf planet has two distinct hemispheres, along with some new detail on the darker spots.
We’re learning more and more about Ceres with each orbit made by the Dawn spacecraft. Earlier this week, NASA released a fantastic new image of the dwarf planet’s terrain, with a resolution of 1,400 feet per pixel. The image shows some new features, including a 3 mile tall mountain.
A mission to study Europa in detail has cleared its first major review, and will soon be in planning stages. If all goes well, we’ll be headed to the Jovian moon in the 2020s, where we’ll gain new insights into active planetary bodies.
Analysis of Hubble data shows that two — and possibly all four — of the Pluto-Charon system’s smallest moons are wobbling in a wildly unpredictable fashion. What’s more, one moon, Kerberos, appears to exhibit a dark charcoal-like surface that’s radically distinct from other Plutonian moons.
Dwarf planets, comets, and asteroids are all the rage these days, but we shouldn’t neglect our Solar System’s outer gas planets and their moons. In this new NASA video, 70 days of Neptunian activity was compressed down to 34 seconds — and the effect is pretty damned cool.
Aside from having the coolest name for a moon ever, Hyperion is known for its potato-like shape and a surface that looks — and even acts — like a sponge. But as the Cassini spacecraft discovered back in 2005, this Saturnian moon also packs an unexpected punch.
What happens when a planetary scientist has a love for order? He creates code that sorts everything from our solar system’s moons to exoplanets into graceful spirals where every object is slightly smaller than the one before. Astronomical knolling is my new favourite way to contemplate the vast scale of space.
We humans are doing a bang-up job of messing up our home planet. But who’s to say we can’t go on to screw things up elsewhere? Here, not listed in any particular order, are 12 unintentional ways we could do some serious damage to our Solar System, too.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that our Solar System — with its inner collection of small rocky planets and an outer region buffeted by gas planets — is quite uncommon. According to a remarkable new study, the reason may have to do with Jupiter and an ancient migratory journey that kickstarted the destruction of…