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.

  • Model based on hydrothermal sources evaluate possibility of life on Jupiter's icy moon
    on February 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Scientists compare primitive Earth scenario with satellite Europa's conditions; the Jupiterian moon could host microorganisms at the bottom of a huge warm ocean located underneath its frozen crust. […]

  • On second thought, the Moon's water may be widespread and immobile
    on February 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    A new analysis of data from two lunar missions finds evidence that the Moon's water is widely distributed across the surface and is not confined to a particular region or type of terrain. […]

  • NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to reveal secrets of the Red Planet
    on February 20, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Mars rovers and orbiters have found signs that Mars once hosted liquid water on its surface. Much of that water escaped over time. How much water was lost, and how does the water that’s left move from ice to atmosphere to soil? During its first year of operations, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will seek answers. Webb also will study mysterious methane plumes that hint at possible geological or even biological activity. […]

  • Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm
    on February 15, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Three billion miles away on the farthest known major planet in our solar system, an ominous, dark storm -- once big enough to stretch across the Atlantic Ocean from Boston to Portugal -- is shrinking out of existence as seen in pictures of Neptune taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. […]

  • Rocky or gassy? Massive, dense super-Earth planet detected
    on February 8, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    A star about 100 light years away in the Pisces constellation, GJ 9827, hosts what may be one of the most massive and dense super-Earth planets detected to date, according to new research. This new information provides evidence to help astronomers better understand the process by which such planets form. […]

  • Researchers build alien ocean to test NASA outer space submarine
    on February 7, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Building a submarine gets tricky when the temperature drops to -300 Fahrenheit and the ocean is made of methane and ethane. Researchers are working to determine how a submarine might work on Titan, the largest of Saturn's many moons and the second largest in the solar system. The space agency plans to launch a real submarine into Titan seas in the next 20 years. […]

  • Did surface life evolve on Mars? Newly published research casts increased doubt
    on February 6, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Surface life on Earth is abundant because of the availability of sunlight, surface water, generally moderate climate conditions. But the planet Mars would have never experienced such habitable conditions at the surface, according to new research. However, below the surface, hydrothermal systems on Mars may have provided the right environment for life on the Red Planet, researchers argue. […]

  • First experimental evidence for superionic ice
    on February 6, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Scientists have provided the first experimental evidence for superionic conduction in water ice at planetary interior conditions, verifying a 30-year-old prediction. […]

  • Atmospheres of exoplanets in TRAPPIST-1 habitable zone probed
    on February 5, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have conducted the first spectroscopic survey of the Earth-sized planets within the habitable zone around the nearby star TRAPPIST-1. Hubble reveals that at least three of the exoplanets (d, e, and f) do not seem to contain puffy, hydrogen-rich atmospheres similar to gaseous planets such as Neptune. The results, instead, favor more compact atmospheres like those of Earth, Venus, and Mars. […]

  • New limit on the definition of a planet proposed
    on January 23, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    A planet can be no bigger than about 10 times the size of Jupiter, an astrophysicist has calculated. […]

  • Viruses are everywhere, maybe even in space
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility. […]

  • Middle-aged sun observed by tracking motion of Mercury
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Like the waistband of a couch potato in midlife, the orbits of planets in our solar system are expanding. It happens because the Sun's gravitational grip gradually weakens as our star ages and loses mass. Now, scientists have indirectly measured this mass loss and other solar parameters by looking at changes in Mercury's orbit. […]

  • New technique for finding life on Mars
    on January 18, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Miniaturized scientific instruments and new microbiology techniques successfully identified and characterized microorganisms living in Arctic permafrost -- one of the closest analogs to Mars on Earth. By avoiding delays that come with having to return samples to a laboratory for analysis, the methodology could also be used on Earth to detect and identify pathogens during epidemics in remote areas. […]

  • X-ray navigation could open up new frontiers for robotic spacecraft
    on January 12, 2018 at 3:39 am

    In a technology first, a team of engineers has demonstrated fully autonomous X-ray navigation in space -- a capability that could revolutionize NASA's ability in the future to pilot robotic spacecraft to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond. […]

  • Citizen scientists discover five-planet system
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    In its search for exoplanets -- planets outside of our solar system -- NASA's Kepler telescope trails behind Earth, measuring the brightness of stars that may potentially host planets. The instrument identifies potential planets around other stars by looking for dips in the brightness of the stars that occur when planets cross in front of, or transit, them. Typically, computer programs flag the stars with these brightness dips, then astronomers look at each one and decide whether or not they truly could host a planet candidate. […]

  • Steep slopes on Mars reveal structure of buried ice on Red Planet
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Researchers have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars' surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes. The ice was likely deposited as snow long ago. The deposits hold clues about Mars' climate history and also may make frozen water more accessible than previously thought to future robotic or human exploration missions. […]

  • Scientist's work may provide answer to Martian mountain mystery
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    By seeing which way the wind blows, a fluid dynamics expert has helped propose a solution to a Martian mountain mystery. He explains the common Martian phenomenon of a mountain positioned downwind from the center of an ancient meteorite impact zone. […]

  • Planets around other stars are like peas in a pod
    on January 9, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    A study of 909 planets and 355 stars reveals that, unlike our solar system, other planetary systems are distinguished by strict regularity. […]

  • Extra-terrestrial Hypatia stone rattles solar system status quo
    on January 9, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Analyses on a small pebble found in south-west Egypt cast significant questions on a widely-held view about the primitive pre-solar dust cloud which our Sun, Earth and other planets were formed from. Researchers found exotic micro-mineral compounds in the 'Hypatia' stone that are not known to occur on Earth, elsewhere in our solar system, or in known meteorites or comets. […]

  • Scientists describe how solar system could have formed in bubble around giant star
    on December 23, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Scientists have laid out a comprehensive theory for how our solar system could have formed in the wind-blown bubbles around a giant, long-dead star. The study addresses a nagging cosmic mystery about the abundance of two elements in our solar system compared to the rest of the galaxy. […]

  • Star in the constellation Pisces is 'eating' planets
    on December 21, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Astronomers have discovered that a distant star called RZ Picseum in the constellation Pisces is crushing one or more planets into its orbit into a vast cloud of gas and dust. […]

  • Mars: Not as dry as it seems
    on December 20, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Two new articles have shed light on why there is, presumably, no life on Mars. Although today's Martian surface is barren, frozen and uninhabitable, a trail of evidence points to a once warmer, wetter planet, where water flowed freely -- and life may have thrived. The conundrum of what happened to this water is long standing and unsolved. However, new research suggests that this water is now locked in the Martian rocks. […]

  • Powerful new tool for looking for life beyond Earth
    on December 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    NASA has developed an innovative new spectroscopy instrument to aid the search for extraterrestrial life. The new instrument is designed to detect compounds and minerals associated with biological activity more quickly and with greater sensitivity than previous instruments. […]

  • NASA solves how a Jupiter jet stream shifts into reverse
    on December 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Speeding through the atmosphere high above Jupiter's equator is an east-west jet stream that reverses course on a schedule almost as predictable as a Tokyo train's. Now, a research team has identified which type of wave forces this jet to change direction. […]

  • Orbital mayhem around a red dwarf
    on December 18, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    In the collective imagination, planets of a solar system all circle around their star, in the equatorial plane of the star. The star also spins, and its spin axis is aligned with the spin axes of the planetary orbits, giving the impression of a well-ordered system. But nature is capricious, as astronomers just found out: they detected a planetary system turned upside down. […]

  • 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. […]