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.

  • Water-worlds are common: Exoplanets may contain vast amounts of water
    on August 18, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Scientists have shown that water is likely to be a major component of those exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars) which are between two to four times the size of Earth. It will have implications for the search of life in our Galaxy. […]

  • Earth mini-moons: Potential for exciting scientific and commercial opportunities
    on August 13, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    The detection of 'mini-moons' -- small asteroids temporarily captured in orbit around Earth -- will vastly improve our scientific understanding of asteroids and the Earth-moon system. Small and fast-moving, they have evaded detection by existing technology, with only one confirmed mini-moon discovery to date. The advent of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope could verify their existence and track their paths around our planet, presenting exciting scientific and commercial opportunities. […]

  • Parker Solar Probe launches on historic journey to touch the sun
    on August 12, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida Sunday to begin its journey to the Sun, where it will undertake a landmark mission. The spacecraft will transmit its first science observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible. […]

  • Million fold increase in the power of waves near Jupiter's moon Ganymede
    on August 7, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Chorus waves are electromagnetic waves. Converted to sound they sound like singing and chirping birds at dawn. They can cause polar lights above the Earth as well as damage to satellites. Now, a team of researchers has found that such waves are intensified million-fold around Jupiter's moon Ganymede. This study provides important observational constraints for theoretical studies. […]

  • Largest haul of extrasolar planets
    on August 7, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Forty-four planets in planetary systems beyond our own have been unveiled in one go, dwarfing the usual number of confirmations from extrasolar surveys, which is typically a dozen or less. The findings will improve our models of planetary systems and may help researchers investigate exoplanet atmospheres. Novel techniques developed to validate the find could hugely accelerate the confirmation of more extrasolar planet candidates. […]

  • Organic makeup of ancient meteorites sheds light on early Solar System
    on August 6, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    The origin of organic matter found in meteorites that formed during the birth of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago may provide key clues to understanding the birth of life here on Earth. It could also help astronomers investigate the potential habitability of other solar systems. […]

  • NASA's Planet-hunting TESS catches a comet before starting science
    on August 6, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Before NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) started science operations on July 25, 2018, the planet hunter sent back a stunning sequence of serendipitous images showing the motion of a comet. […]

  • Oldest-ever igneous meteorite contains clues to planet building blocks
    on August 6, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Scientists believe the solar system was formed some 4.6 billion years ago when a cloud of gas and dust collapsed under gravity possibly triggered by a cataclysmic explosion from a nearby massive star or supernova. As this cloud collapsed, it formed a spinning disk with the sun in the center. Since then scientists have been able to establish the formation of the solar system piece by piece. […]

  • VLA detects possible extrasolar planetary-mass magnetic powerhouse
    on August 3, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Astronomers have detected a possible planetary-mass object with a surprisingly powerful magnetic field some 20 light-years from Earth. It can help scientists better understand magnetic processes on stars and planets. […]

  • Astronomers assemble 'light-fingerprints' to unveil mysteries of the cosmos
    on July 31, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Earthbound detectives rely on fingerprints to solve their cases; now astronomers can do the same, using 'light-fingerprints' instead of skin grooves to uncover the mysteries of exoplanets. […]

  • Parker Solar Probe and the birth of the solar wind
    on July 30, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    This summer, humanity embarks on its first mission to touch the Sun: A spacecraft will be launched into the Sun's outer atmosphere. Facing several-million-degree Fahrenheit temperatures, NASA's Parker Solar Probe will directly sample solar particles and magnetic fields to resolve some of the most important questions in solar science. […]

  • Mars terraforming not possible using present-day technology
    on July 30, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Science fiction writers have long featured terraforming, the process of creating an Earth-like or habitable environment on another planet, in their stories. Scientists themselves have proposed terraforming to enable the long-term colonization of Mars. A solution common to both groups is to release carbon dioxide gas trapped in the Martian surface to thicken the atmosphere and act as a blanket to warm the planet. […]

  • Blue crystals in meteorites show that our sun went through the 'terrible twos'
    on July 30, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    By examining tiny blue crystals trapped inside meteorites, scientists were able to figure out what the sun was like before the Earth formed -- and apparently, it had a pretty rowdy start. When scientists analyzed the chemical make-up of these crystals, they found atoms that would only be there if the early sun was spitting out lots of high-energry particles -- the solar version of going through the 'terrible twos.' […]

  • New family photos of Mars and Saturn from Hubble
    on July 26, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    In summer 2018 the planets Mars and Saturn are, one after the other, in opposition to Earth. During this event the planets are relatively close to Earth, allowing astronomers to observe them in greater detail. Hubble took advantage of this preferred configuration and imaged both planets to continue its long-standing observation of the outer planets in the solar system. […]

  • Mars Express detects liquid water hidden under planet’s south pole
    on July 26, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Radar data collected by ESA's Mars Express point to a pond of liquid water buried under layers of ice and dust in the south polar region of Mars. […]

  • Where Martian dust comes from
    on July 24, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    The dust that coats much of the surface of Mars originates largely from a single thousand-kilometer-long geological formation near the Red Planet's equator. […]

  • More mysteries of metallic hydrogen
    on July 24, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Liquid metallic hydrogen is not present naturally on Earth and has only been created in a handful of places. Now scientists are researching the properties of liquid metallic hydrogen to understand how planets both inside and outside our solar system form magnetic shields. […]

  • Finding a planet with a 10 year orbit in just a few months
    on July 18, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    To discover the presence of a planet around stars, astronomers wait until it has completed three orbits. However, this effective technique has its drawbacks since it cannot confirm the presence of planets at relatively long periods. To overcome this obstacle, astronomers have developed a method that makes it possible to ensure the presence of a planet in a few months, even if it takes 10 years to circle its star. […]

  • A dozen new moons of Jupiter discovered, including one 'oddball'
    on July 17, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Twelve new moons orbiting Jupiter have been found -- 11 'normal' outer moons, and one that they're calling an 'oddball.' Astronomers first spotted the moons in the spring of 2017 while they were looking for very distant solar system objects as part of the hunt for a possible massive planet far beyond Pluto. […]

  • Disruption tolerant networking to demonstrate Internet in space
    on July 16, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    The interplanetary Internet may soon become a reality. NASA is about to demonstrate Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking, or DTN -- a technology that sends information through space and ground networks to its destination. […]

  • 'Cataclysmic' collision shaped Uranus' evolution
    on July 2, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Uranus was hit by a massive object roughly twice the size of Earth that caused the planet to tilt and could explain its freezing temperatures, according to new research. […]

  • Most of Earth's meteorites came from five or six ancient planets
    on July 2, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    A study found at least 85 percent of 200,000 asteroids in the inner asteroid belt -- the main source of Earth's meteorites -- originate from five or six ancient minor planets. […]

  • Mars valleys traced back to precipitation
    on June 28, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    The valley networks of Mars bear a strong resemblance to those found in arid landscapes on Earth. Researchers have been able to demonstrate this using the branching angles of river valley confluences. Based on these observations, they infer that Mars once had a primeval climate in which sporadic heavy precipitation eroded valleys. […]

  • More clues that Earth-like exoplanets are indeed Earth-like
    on June 28, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Researchers suggest that two Earth-like exoplanets (Kepler-186f and 62f) have very stable axial tilts, much like the Earth, making it likely that each has regular seasons and a stable climate. […]

  • Mars dust storm may lead to new weather discoveries
    on June 28, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Mars is experiencing an estimated 15.8-million-square-mile dust storm, roughly the size of North and South America. This storm may not be good news for the NASA solar-powered Opportunity rover, but one professor sees this as a chance to learn more about Martian weather. […]

  • Meteorite 'Black Beauty' expands window for when life might have existed on Mars
    on June 28, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    New evidence for a rapid crystallization and crust formation on Mars has just been published. The study, based on the analysis of the rare Mars meteorite Black Beauty, significantly expands the window for when life might have existed on Mars. […]

  • Scientists find evidence of complex organic molecules from Enceladus
    on June 27, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Using mass spectrometry data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, scientists found that large, carbon-rich organic molecules are ejected from cracks in the icy surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus. Scientists think chemical reactions between the moon's rocky core and warm water from its subsurface ocean are linked to these complex molecules. […]

  • Sandbox craters reveal secrets of planetary splash marks and lost meteorites
    on June 27, 2018 at 4:30 am

    Researchers inspired by school science to crack the conundrum of planetary craters. […]

  • NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to target Jupiter's Great Red Spot
    on June 25, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, the most ambitious and complex space observatory ever built, will use its unparalleled infrared capabilities to study Jupiter's Great Red Spot, shedding new light on the enigmatic storm and building upon data returned from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories. […]

  • Martian dust storm grows global: Curiosity captures photos of thickening haze
    on June 20, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    A storm of tiny dust particles has engulfed much of Mars over the last two weeks and prompted NASA's Opportunity rover to suspend science operations. But across the planet, NASA's Curiosity rover, which has been studying Martian soil at Gale Crater, is expected to remain largely unaffected by the dust. The Martian dust storm has grown in size and is now officially a 'planet-encircling' (or 'global') dust event. […]