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.

  • Artificial intelligence, NASA data used to discover eighth planet circling distant star
    on December 14, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star, with the recent discovery of an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light years from Earth. The planet was discovered in data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. […]

  • Spanning disciplines in the search for life beyond Earth
    on December 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Following a gold rush of exoplanet discovery, the next step in the search for life is determining which of the known exoplanets are proper candidates for life -- and for this, a cross-disciplinary approach is essential. […]

  • Mars mission sheds light on habitability of distant planets
    on December 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Insights from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission about the loss of the Red Planet's atmosphere can help scientists understand the habitability of rocky planets orbiting other stars. […]

  • Giant storms cause palpitations in Saturn's atmospheric heartbeat
    on December 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Immense northern storms on Saturn can disturb atmospheric patterns at the planet's equator, finds the international Cassini mission. […]

  • Electrical and chemical coupling between Saturn and its rings
    on December 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    A Langmuir probe, flown to Saturn on the Cassini spacecraft, has made exciting discoveries in the atmosphere of the planet. They discovered that there is a strong coupling, both chemically and electrically, between the atmosphere of Saturn and its rings. […]

  • Mars' atmosphere well protected from the solar wind
    on December 7, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Despite the absence of a global Earth-like magnetic dipole, the Martian atmosphere is well protected from the effects of the solar wind on ion escape from the planet. New research shows this using measurements from the Swedish particle instrument ASPERA-3 on the Mars Express spacecraft. […]

  • Clay minerals on Mars may have formed in primordial steam bath
    on December 6, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    New research suggests that the bulk of clay minerals on Mars could have been formed as the planet's crust cooled and solidified, not by later interactions with water on the surface as has long been assumed. […]

  • New spin to solving mystery of stellar companions
    on December 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Scientists are investigating the nature of planetary-mass bodies that orbit stars, finding new clues to their origins. […]

  • Voyager 1 fires up thrusters after 37 years
    on December 2, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    A set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft successfully fired up Wednesday after 37 years without use. Since 2014, engineers have noticed that the thrusters Voyager 1 has been using to orient the spacecraft, called "attitude control thrusters," have been degrading. […]

  • Earthworms can reproduce in Mars soil simulant
    on November 27, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Two young worms are the first offspring in a Mars soil experiment. A biologist found them in a Mars soil simulant that he obtained from NASA. At the start he only added adult worms. The experiments are crucial in the study that aims to determine whether people can keep themselves alive at the red planet by growing their own crops on Mars soils. […]

  • Frictional heat powers hydrothermal activity on Enceladus
    on November 22, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    A computer simulation shows how icy moon heats water in a porous rock core. This study also offers among others an answer to the long-standing question of where the energy that can support water in liquid form on a small, cryovulcanic moon far from the sun comes from. […]

  • Unexpected atmospheric vortex behavior on Saturn's moon Titan
    on November 21, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Recently reported unexpected behavior on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is due to its unique atmospheric chemistry. Titan is the largest moon of Saturn, is bigger than the planet Mercury, and is the only moon in our solar system to have a substantial atmosphere. […]

  • Ice shapes the landslide landscape on Mars
    on November 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    How good is your Martian geography? Scientists now explain the extent to which ice may have been an important medium of lubrication for landslides on Mars. […]

  • Astronomers reveal nearby stars that are among the oldest in our galaxy
    on November 20, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Astronomers have discovered some of the oldest stars in our Milky Way galaxy by determining their locations and velocities. […]

  • Previous evidence of water on Mars now identified as grainflows
    on November 20, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new article. These findings indicate that present-day Mars may not have a significant volume of liquid water. The water-restricted conditions that exist on Mars would make it difficult for Earth-like life to exist near the surface. […]

  • Taking a spin on plasma space tornadoes with NASA observations
    on November 17, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Tornado-like swirls of space plasma create tumultuous boundaries in the near-Earth environment, letting dangerous high-energy particles slip into near Earth space, new NASA mission results show. […]

  • Solar minimum surprisingly constant
    on November 17, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Using more than half a century of observations, astronomers have discovered that the microwaves coming from the Sun at the minimums of the past five solar cycles have been the same each time, despite large differences in the maximums of the cycles. […]

  • Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected
    on November 15, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    The gas composition of a planet's atmosphere generally determines how much heat gets trapped in the atmosphere. For the dwarf planet Pluto, however, the predicted temperature based on the composition of its atmosphere was much higher than actual measurements taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft in 2015. A new study proposes a novel cooling mechanism controlled by haze particles to account for Pluto's frigid atmosphere. […]

  • Dawn spacecraft explores dwarf planet Ceres' interior evolution
    on November 9, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Surface features on Ceres -- the largest world between Mars and Jupiter -- and its interior evolution have a closer relationship than one might think. A recent study analyzed Ceres' surface features to reveal clues about the dwarf planet's interior evolution. […]

  • Next Mars rover will have 23 'eyes'
    on November 3, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    NASA's Mars 2020 mission will have more "eyes" than any rover before it: a grand total of 23, to create sweeping panoramas, reveal obstacles, study the atmosphere, and assist science instruments. They will provide dramatic views during the rover's descent to the Red Planet. […]

  • Another close-by planetary system?
    on November 3, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    The ALMA Observatory in Chile has detected dust around the closest star to the Solar System, Proxima Centauri. These new observations reveal the glow coming from cold dust in a region between one to four times as far from Proxima Centauri as the Earth is from the Sun. The data also hint at the presence of an even cooler outer dust belt and may indicate the presence of an elaborate planetary system. […]

  • Hubble sees nearby asteroids photobombing distant galaxies
    on November 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Photobombing asteroids from our solar system have snuck their way into this deep image of the universe taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. These asteroids reside roughly 160 million miles from Earth, yet they've horned their way into this picture of thousands of galaxies scattered across space and time at inconceivably farther distances. […]

  • NASA investigates invisible magnetic bubbles in outer solar system
    on November 1, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Forty years ago, the twin Voyagers spacecraft were launched to explore the frontiers of our solar system, and have since made countless discoveries, including finding magnetic bubbles around two of the outer planets. […]

  • Medical-like tools for NASA to study samples of the solar system
    on October 31, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    A diagnostic tool, similar in theory to those used by the medical profession to noninvasively image internal organs, bones, soft tissue, and blood vessels, could be equally effective at 'triaging' extraterrestrial rocks and other samples before they are shipped to Earth for further analysis. […]

  • Jupiter's X-ray auroras pulse independently
    on October 30, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Jupiter's intense northern and southern lights pulse independently of each other according to new research. […]

  • Small asteroid or comet 'visits' from beyond the solar system
    on October 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    A small, recently discovered asteroid -- or perhaps a comet -- appears to have originated from outside the solar system, coming from somewhere else in our galaxy. If so, it would be the first "interstellar object" to be observed and confirmed by astronomers. […]

  • Martian landscapes formed from sand 'levitating' on a little boiling water
    on October 27, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Scientists have discovered a process that could explain the long-debated mystery of how land features on Mars are formed in the absence of significant amounts of water. Experiments reveal that Mars' thin atmosphere (about 7 mbar -- compared to 1,000 mbar on Earth) combined with periods of relatively warm surface temperatures causes water flowing on the surface to violently boil. This process can then move large amounts of sand and other sediment, which effectively 'levitates' on the boiling water. […]

  • Comet mission reveals 'missing link' in our understanding of planet formation
    on October 25, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    The missing link in our understanding of planet formation has been revealed by the first ever spacecraft to orbit and land on a comet, say scientists. […]

  • NASA's MAVEN mission finds Mars has a twisted magnetic tail
    on October 19, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Mars has an invisible magnetic 'tail' that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft. […]

  • Noxious ice cloud on Saturn's moon Titan
    on October 19, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Researchers with NASA's Cassini mission found evidence of a toxic hybrid ice in a wispy cloud high above the south pole of Saturn's largest moon, Titan. […]