Solar System

Solar System News -- ScienceDaily Solar System Planets. Astronomy articles on the eight planets, plus the two dwarf planets, Pluto and Eris. Great pictures of everything in the solar system. Updated daily.

  • NASA Protects its super heroes from space weather
    on August 17, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    When astronauts travel in space they can't see or even feel radiation. However, NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is studying the effects radiation plays on the human body and developing ways to monitor and protect against this silent hazard. […]

  • Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life
    on August 16, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    NASA's Mars 2020 mission, which will look for signs of past life on Mars, will use smart methods originally developed to find the oldest life on Earth, according the mission's Deputy Project Scientist. The 2020 mission will make coordinated measurements that could detect signs of ancient life - or biosignatures - in their original spatial context. These techniques, known as 'spatially resolved biosignature analysis' derive from geochemical analysis of early life on Earth. […]

  • NASA, ESA spacecraft track solar storm through space
    on August 16, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Using seven spacecraft, along with computer models, scientists have pieced together the journey of a coronal mass ejection from the Sun outward to Mars, Comet 67P, Jupiter and even the New Horizons spacecraft now beyond Pluto. […]

  • Cassini says goodbye to a true Titan
    on August 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Mere weeks away from its dramatic, mission-ending plunge into Saturn, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has a hectic schedule, orbiting the planet every week in its Grand Finale. On a few orbits, Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has been near enough to tweak Cassini's orbit, causing the spacecraft to approach Saturn a bit closer or a bit farther away. A couple of those distant passes even pushed Cassini into the inner fringes of Saturn's rings. […]

  • Tracking a solar eruption through the solar system
    on August 15, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Ten spacecraft, from ESA's Venus Express to NASA's Voyager-2, felt the effect of a solar eruption as it washed through the solar system while three other satellites watched, providing a unique perspective on this space weather event. […]

  • Tidally locked exoplanets may be more common than previously thought
    on August 14, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Many exoplanets to be found by coming high-powered telescopes will probably be tidally locked -- with one side permanently facing their host star -- according to new research. […]

  • Cassini to begin final five orbits around Saturn
    on August 12, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    NASA's Cassini spacecraft will enter new territory in its final mission phase, the Grand Finale, as it prepares to embark on a set of ultra-close passes through Saturn's upper atmosphere with its final five orbits around the planet. […]

  • Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy planets
    on August 11, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Scientists have helped solve the mystery of what lies beneath the surface of Neptune -- the most distant planet in our solar system. […]

  • Astronauts to bring asteroid back into lunar orbit
    on August 7, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Future space exploration aims to fly further from Earth than ever before. New research examines the robotic phase of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). In addition to taking manned spaceflights deeper into space than ever before, the proposed mission would also bring some benefit for planetary science. […]

  • Twilight observations reveal huge storm on Neptune
    on August 3, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Striking images of a storm system nearly the size of Earth have astronomers doing a double-take after pinpointing its location near Neptune's equator, a region where no bright cloud has been seen before. The discovery was made at dawn on June 26 as researchers were testing the Keck telescope to see whether it could make useful observations during twilight, a time most astronomers consider unusable because it's not dark enough. […]

  • Primordial asteroids discovered
    on August 3, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Astronomers recently discovered a relatively unpopulated region of the main asteroid belt, where the few asteroids present are likely pristine relics from early in solar system history. The team used a new search technique that also identified the oldest known asteroid family, which extends throughout the inner region of the main asteroid belt. […]

  • Our solar system's 'shocking' origin story
    on August 3, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    According to one longstanding theory, our Solar System's formation was triggered by a shock wave from an exploding supernova. It injected material from the exploding star into a neighboring cloud of dust and gas, causing it to collapse in on itself and form the Sun and its surrounding planets. New work offers fresh evidence supporting this theory, modeling the Solar System's formation beyond the initial cloud collapse and into the intermediate stages of star formation. […]

  • Exoplanet shines with glowing water atmosphere
    on August 2, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Scientists have found compelling evidence for a stratosphere on an enormous planet outside our solar system. The planet's stratosphere -- a layer of atmosphere where temperature increases with higher altitudes -- is hot enough to boil iron. […]

  • Complex chemistry in Saturn's moon Titan's atmosphere
    on July 28, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Saturn's frigid moon Titan has a curious atmosphere. In addition to a hazy mixture of nitrogen and hydrocarbons, like methane and ethane, Titan's atmosphere also contains an array of more complex organic molecules, including vinyl cyanide, which astronomers recently uncovered in archival ALMA data. Under the right conditions, like those found on the surface of Titan, vinyl cyanide may naturally coalesce into microscopic spheres resembling cell membranes. […]

  • Solar eclipse science along the path of totality
    on July 27, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    A number of research projects will take place across the country during the upcoming Aug. 21 solar eclipse. The research will advance our knowledge of the sun's complex and mysterious magnetic field and its effects on Earth's atmosphere and land. […]

  • Large, distant comets more common than previously thought
    on July 25, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    There are about seven times more long-period comets measuring at least 1 kilometer across than previously predicted, suggests new research. The researchers also found that long-period comets are, on average, nearly twice as large as 'Jupiter family' comets, whose orbits are shaped by Jupiter's gravity and have periods of less than 20 years. […]

  • Venus's turbulent atmosphere
    on July 25, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Astronomers shed light on the so far unexplored nightside circulation at the upper cloud level of Venus. Researchers have discovered unexpected patterns of slow motion and abundant stationary waves in Venus's nighttime sky. […]

  • Chasing the Total Solar Eclipse from NASA's WB-57F jets
    on July 25, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    A team of scientists will take to the skies during the Aug. 21 eclipse, using two of NASA's WB-57 jet planes to chase the shadow of the moon for unparalleled observations of the sun and Mercury. […]

  • Safely viewing a solar eclipse
    on July 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    A solar eclipse will be visible across North America for 2 to 3 hours on Monday, August 21, 2017. Watching the moon slowly block out the sun is a rare opportunity but should be attempted with caution. […]

  • Moon has a water-rich interior
    on July 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Using satellite data, researchers have for the first time detected widespread water within ancient explosive volcanic deposits on the moon, suggesting that its interior contains substantial amounts of indigenous water. […]

  • The moon is front and center during a total solar eclipse
    on July 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    In the lead-up to a total solar eclipse, most of the attention is on the sun, but Earth's moon also has a starring role. […]

  • NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system
    on July 20, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    It was midafternoon, but it was dark in an area in Boulder, Colorado on Aug. 3, 1998. A thick cloud appeared overhead and dimmed the land below for more than 30 minutes. Well-calibrated radiometers showed that there were very low levels of light reaching the ground, sufficiently low that researchers decided to simulate this interesting event with computer models. Now in 2017, inspired by the event in Boulder, NASA scientists will explore the moon's eclipse of the sun to learn more about Earth's energy system. […]

  • Viewing Martian moon orbiting the red planet
    on July 20, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    While photographing Mars, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured a cameo appearance of the tiny moon Phobos on its trek around the Red Planet. Hubble took 13 separate exposures over 22 minutes to create a time-lapse video showing the moon's orbital path. […]

  • Ancient, massive asteroid impact could explain Martian geological mysteries
    on July 18, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    A colossal impact with a large asteroid early in Mars' history may have ripped off a chunk of the northern hemisphere and left behind a legacy of metallic elements in the planet's interior. The crash also created a ring of rocky debris around Mars that may have later clumped together to form its moons, Phobos and Deimos. […]

  • Yes, the sun is an ordinary, solar-type star after all
    on July 13, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    The Sun is a solar-type star, a new study claims -- resolving an ongoing controversy about whether the star at the center of our Solar System exhibits the same cyclic behavior as other nearby, solar-type stars. […]

  • NASA's Juno spacecraft spots Jupiter's Great Red Spot
    on July 13, 2017 at 12:16 am

    Images of Jupiter's Great Red Spot reveal a tangle of dark, veinous clouds weaving their way through a massive crimson oval. The JunoCam imager aboard NASA's Juno mission snapped pics of the most iconic feature of the solar system's largest planetary inhabitant during its July 10 flyby. […]

  • Planet Nine hypothesis supported by new evidence
    on July 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Last year, the existence of an unknown planet in our Solar system was announced. However, this hypothesis was subsequently called into question as biases in the observational data were detected. Now astronomers have used a novel technique to analyze the orbits of the so-called extreme trans-Neptunian objects and, once again, they point out that there is something perturbing them: a planet located at a distance between 300 to 400 times the Earth-Sun separation. […]

  • Tracking the birth of a 'super-Earth'
    on July 11, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    'Synthetic observations' simulating nascent planetary systems could help explain a puzzle -- how planets form -- that has vexed astronomers for a long time. […]

  • Calm lakes on Titan could mean smooth landing for future space probes
    on July 5, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    The lakes of liquid methane on Saturn's moon, Titan, are perfect for paddling but not for surfing. New research has found that most waves on Titan's lakes reach only about 1 centimeter high. […]

  • Surprise methanol detection points to evolving story of Saturn's moon Enceladus's plumes
    on July 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    A serendipitous detection of the organic molecule methanol around an intriguing moon of Saturn suggests that material spewed from Enceladus undertakes a complex chemical journey once vented into space. This is the first time that a molecule from Enceladus has been detected with a ground-based telescope. […]