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.

  • Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form
    on October 15, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Researchers have identified a young star with four Jupiter and Saturn-sized planets in orbit around it, the first time that so many massive planets have been detected in such a young system. The system has also set a new record for the most extreme range of orbits yet observed: the outermost planet is more than a thousand times further from the star than the innermost one, which raises interesting questions about how such a system might have formed. […]

  • Icy moon of Jupiter, Ganymede, shows evidence of past strike-slip faulting
    on October 10, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    A recently published study reveals Ganymede, an icy moon of Jupiter, appears to have undergone complex periods of geologic activity, specifically strike-slip tectonism, as is seen in Earth's San Andreas fault. […]

  • Icy warning for space missions to Jupiter's moon
    on October 9, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    A location often earmarked as a potential habitat for extra-terrestrial life could prove to be a tricky place for spacecraft to land, new research has revealed. […]

  • The threat of Centaurs for the Earth
    on October 9, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Astrophysicists have investigated the long-term path development of Centaurs -- small icy bodies that orbit the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune. […]

  • Lunar craters named in honor of Apollo 8
    on October 5, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    The Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union has today officially approved the naming of two craters on the Moon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission. The names are Anders's Earthrise and 8 Homeward. […]

  • Surprising chemical complexity of Saturn's rings changing planet's upper atmosphere
    on October 4, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    A new study based on data from the final orbits last year of NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the rings of Saturn -- some of the most visually stupendous objects in the universe -- are far more chemically complicated than previously was understood. […]

  • Astronomers find first compelling evidence for a moon outside our solar system
    on October 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    On the hunt for distant worlds, researchers have identified an exomoon candidate around the transiting exoplanet Kepler-1625b that indicates the presence of a previously unknown gas-giant moon. […]

  • New extremely distant solar system object found during hunt for Planet X
    on October 2, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Astronomers have discovered a new extremely distant object far beyond Pluto with an orbit that supports the presence of an even-farther-out, Super-Earth or larger Planet X. […]

  • Experimental Martian dirt: $20 a kilogram, plus shipping
    on September 28, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    A team of astrophysicists has developed a scientifically based, standardized method for creating Martian and asteroid soil known as simulants. […]

  • By Jove! Methane's effects on sunlight vary by region
    on September 26, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Solar energy absorption by methane is 10 times stronger over desert regions such as the Sahara Desert and Arabian Peninsula than elsewhere on Earth, and nearly three times more powerful in the presence of clouds. Researchers came to this conclusion after evaluating observations of Jupiter and Saturn's moon Titan. […]

  • How a tiny Curiosity motor identified a massive Martian dust storm
    on September 26, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    When dust filled the Martian atmosphere during the recent planet-wide dust storm, observations were plentiful -- even from unlikely instruments. […]

  • Martian moon may have come from impact on home planet
    on September 24, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Phobos, the larger of Mars' two tiny satellites, is the darkest moon in the solar system. This dark aspect inspired the hypothesis that the close-orbiting moon may be a captured asteroid, but its orbital dynamics seemed to disagree. A new study suggests Phobos' composition may be more like the volcanic crust of the Red Planet than it appears, consistent with an origin for the moon in an ancient, violent impact on Mars. […]

  • Four extremely young asteroid families identified
    on September 24, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Researchers dated the families using a numerical simulation method to process current data to go back in time to the asteroid formation era. […]

  • Ancient Mars had right conditions for underground life, new research suggests
    on September 24, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    A new study shows that the breakdown of water molecules trapped in ancient Martian rocks likely produced enough chemical energy to sustain microorganisms for hundreds of millions of years beneath the Red Planet's surface. […]

  • Ice volcano activity on dwarf planet Ceres
    on September 17, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Ice volcanoes on the dwarf planet Ceres generate enough material to fill one movie theater each year, new calculations show. […]

  • Evidence of early planetary shake-up
    on September 10, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Scientists have studied an unusual pair of asteroids and discovered that their existence points to an early planetary rearrangement in our solar system. […]

  • Legacy of NASA's Dawn, near the end of its mission
    on September 7, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    NASA's Dawn mission is drawing to a close after 11 years of breaking new ground in planetary science, gathering breathtaking imagery, and performing unprecedented feats of spacecraft engineering. […]

  • Pluto should be reclassified as a planet, experts say
    on September 7, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    The reason Pluto lost its planet status is not valid, according to new research. […]

  • Mysterious 'lunar swirls' point to moon's volcanic, magnetic past
    on September 6, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    The mystery behind lunar swirls, one of the solar system's most beautiful optical anomalies, may finally be solved. The solution hints at the dynamism of the moon's ancient past as a place with volcanic activity and an internally generated magnetic field. It also challenges our picture of the moon's existing geology. […]

  • New exoplanet found very close to its star
    on September 5, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Using data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, an international team has discovered a new exoplanet twice the size of Earth. It orbits its star every six days and is thus very close to it, about 10 times closer than Mercury is to the Sun. […]

  • Saturn's famous hexagon may tower above the clouds
    on September 5, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    The long-lived international Cassini mission has revealed a surprising feature emerging at Saturn's northern pole as it nears summertime: a warming, high-altitude vortex with a hexagonal shape, akin to the famous hexagon seen deeper down in Saturn's clouds. […]

  • How a NASA scientist looks in the depths of the great red spot to find water on Jupiter
    on August 29, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    One critical question has bedeviled astronomers for generations: Is there water deep in Jupiter's atmosphere, and if so, how much? […]

  • Jupiter had growth disorders
    on August 27, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Researchers can now show how Jupiter was formed. Data collected from meteorites had indicated that the growth of the giant planet had been delayed for two million years. Now the researchers have found an explanation: Collisions with kilometer-sized blocks generated high energy, which meant that in this phase hardly any accretion of gas could take place and the planet could only grow slowly. […]

  • Crystalline silica in meteorite brings scientists closer to understanding solar evolution
    on August 22, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Scientists discovered silica mineral quartz in a primitive meteorite, becoming the first in the world to present direct evidence of silica condensation within the solar protoplanetary disk. They also found ultrarefractory scandium- and zirconium-bearing minerals in the meteorite, which implies that the minerals condensed from nebular gas over a wide temperature range. […]

  • Ice confirmed at the moon's poles
    on August 21, 2018 at 12:36 am

    Using data from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument, scientists have identified three specific signatures that definitively prove there is water ice at the surface of the Moon. […]

  • 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. […]