Tag Archives | Solar System


Latest images of Ceres show detail of bright spot

New images of the dwarf planet Ceres, taken from 2,700 miles above by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, show the surface of this mysterious world in sharper detail than ever before. The new images are of the brightest spots, which are located in a crater about 55 miles across. The largest bright area in this crater is […]

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Dark matter could be the wild card in extinction events

Our planet’s long path around and through the Milky Way means that dark matter could be the ultimate wild card in our ability to predict asteroid strikes, and scientists are now speculating that dark matter could also be affecting the Earth’s core, potentially leading to major volcanic events. In a new paper in Monthly Notices […]

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Stunning photos of comet 67P at the end of Rosetta’s decade-long journey

After a 10 year journey, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft has rendezvoused with the 2.5 mile-wide comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the region of space between Mars and Jupiter. Rushing towards the inner solar system at around 30,000 miles per hour, the strangely shaped comet is presenting Rosetta’s controllers with some enormous challenges in establishing […]

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New analysis reveals hidden planetary disks

The two images at top reveal debris disks around young stars uncovered in archival images taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The illustration beneath each image depicts the orientation of the debris disks.Using a new image processing technique, astronomers combing through data from the Hubble Space Telescope have identified five planetary disks around young stars […]

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Solar wind creating interplanetary rain

Scientists have discovered that when tiny interplanetary dust particles are battered by the solar wind, the ion bombardment can free oxygen and hydrogen atoms from the dust, creating water molecules that can nurture microscopic life in space. The discovery, detailed in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was made by researchers from the University […]

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Water vapor plumes observed erupting from dwarf planet

The Herschel space observatory has used its far-infrared capabilities to capture a clear spectral signature of water vapor venting from the largest object in the asteroid belt, Ceres. Ceres is classified as a dwarf planet, a body bigger than an asteroid and smaller than a planet. “This is the first time water vapor has been […]

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First exoplanet images from Gemini

After nearly a decade of development, construction, and testing, the world’s most advanced instrument for directly imaging planets around other stars is pointing skyward and producing its first images of planets outside our solar system. (The image at right shows the planet Beta Pictoris b, orbiting the star Beta Pictoris. The star is hidden behind […]

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Sol System “Pretty Special,” Say Astronomers

Existing models that attempt to explain the formation of the solar system have assumed it to be average in every way. But a new study by Northwestern University astronomers using recent data from the 300 exoplanets discovered orbiting other stars turns that view on its head and indicates that solar systems like our own are […]

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Solar System In A Hole

The first detailed map of space within about 1,000 light years of Earth places the solar system in the middle of a large hole that pierces the plane of the galaxy, perhaps left by an exploding star one or two million years ago. The new map, produced by University of California, Berkeley, and French astronomers, […]

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