Planets and space bodies

Astronomers create the first weather map of a giant Jupiter-like exoplanet

For the first time, astronomers have actually mapped the weather of an exoplanet beyond our Solar System. Astronomers have found that gas giant HD 189733b has winds swirling at 8690 km/h (5400 mph). This is due to the planets extremely close orbit around its host star.

November 18, 2015

Mars' moon Phobos is slowly disintegrating

The long shallow grooves on Phobos are likely early signs of structural damage. Scientists now believe that Phobos is not solid but instead is a pile of rubble covered by a thick layer of dust which makes it look solid. Scientists expect the moon to be pulled apart in

November 14, 2015

New Earth-like exoplanet discovered, only 39 light years away

Scientists have discovered a new exoplanet in our stellar neighborhood, only 39 light years from Earth, Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced on November 11, 2015. The planet shows no signs of being capable of hosting any life, however it is the closest Earth-

November 13, 2015

Astronomers discover the farthest planetoid in the Solar System

Astronomers have spotted a dwarf planet which is three times farther away than Pluto. This makes it the farthest object discovered in the Solar System. Once its orbit is ascertained, planetoid V774104 may teach researchers a lot about the early Solar System.The

November 12, 2015

New Horizons recent Pluto flyby yields numerous exciting discoveries

NASA's New Horizons science team gathered on the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences in National Harbor, Maryland, taking place from November 8 to 13, 2015, to discuss numerous exciting discoveries that orig

November 09, 2015

MAVEN data reveals solar wind emptied Mars' atmosphere, left behind a dry planet

Data from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has allowed researchers to understand the drastic transformation in the Martian environment - from a wet, warm climate which may have supported life to the cold and dry planet that it has become

November 06, 2015

First raw image from Enceladus' October 28 flyby now available

First image of Saturn's moon Enceladus has been received from the Cassini spacecraft, NASA reported on October 30, 2015.NASA's Cassini spacecraft was scheduled to perform its deepest-ever dive through the icy plume of Saturn's moon Enceladus on October 28. T

October 31, 2015

ESA's JUICE set to explore Jupiter's mysterious moons

​Astronomers have always been fascinated by the gas giant Jupiter. A planet over 1000 times the size of Earth with 63 natural moons, 4 of whom are nearly as big as planets themselves, Jupiter and its moons are considered to be a mini solar system and are popularly kno

October 27, 2015

Cassini to perform the deepest-ever dive through the plume of Enceladus

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is scheduled to perform the deepest-ever dive through the icy plume of Saturn's moon Enceladus on October 28, 2015. The scientists involved in the project are hoping this dive will provide new insights into the moon's ocean environm

October 27, 2015

New maps of Jupiter reveal the Great Red Spot continues to shrink

NASA's scientists have produced new maps of Jupiter from images collected by the Hubble Space Telescope. Newly composed maps are the first in a series of yearly images of the Solar System's outer planets, designed to keep track of how these giant worlds change o

October 15, 2015

Blue hazes and small regions of water ice found on Pluto

The first color images of Pluto's atmospheric hazes, provided last week by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft show the hazes scatter blue light, NASA announced on October 8, 2015. New Horizons has also detected small, exposed regions of water ice on Pluto, using the

October 09, 2015

Pluto continues to surprise

In the previous Space News episode, we discussed recent, astonishing images of the surface of the dwarf planet Pluto. Many other surprises have already been revealed in the data thus far released from NASA’s New Horizons mission.Today, physicist Eugene Bagashov di

October 04, 2015

New maps uncover amazing geological features on Ceres

A series of new images of Ceres have been provided by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, showing the geological features of the dwarf planet in amazing, unprecedented details.A new colored topographic map shows numerous recently approved names for various geological features o

October 01, 2015

Moon's water delivered by asteroids, not falling comets as previously thought

Scientists from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and the RAS Geosphere Dynamics Institue have discovered that a large asteroid can deliver more water to the lunar surface than the cumulative fall of comets over a billion year period. At the beginning

October 01, 2015

NASA confirms liquid water flows on Mars

The strongest evidence so far, provided by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) confirms that liquid water flows intermittently on Mars, NASA stated in their public announcement on September 28, 2015. NASA's MRO has provided new data, proving the existence o

September 28, 2015

Amazing new collection of high-resolution Pluto images opens a new page in its future research

A new collection of high-resolution images of Pluto, collected by NASA's New Horizon, has revealed the minor planet's surface in amazing, previously unseen topographic and compositional details. The collected data has opened new horizons in the future research o

September 25, 2015

New research reveals a global ocean beneath Saturn's moon Enceladus

Scientists have discovered a global ocean underneath the icy crust of Enceladus, the geologically active Saturn's moon. The discovery has been made by using data from NASA's Cassini mission, NASA announced on September 15, 2015.Researchers have come to this conc

September 17, 2015

Bright spots on Ceres imaged in striking new detail

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has provided new views of the dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced on September 9, 2015. The brightest spots and the closest-yet view of Occator crater has given scientists a deeper insight into these unusua

September 10, 2015

One step closer to solving the mystery of Mars' atmosphere loss

A new analysis of the largest known deposit of carbonate minerals on Mars suggests that the original Martian atmosphere may have already lost most of its carbon dioxide by the era of valley network formation.Carbon dioxide makes up most of the Martian atmosphere. That g

September 03, 2015

A new computer simulation suggest our early Solar System was inhabited by a fifth giant planet

A new research, published on August 10, 2015, suggests a cluster of icy bodies located in the same areas as Pluto, might prove our early Solar System was inhabited by a fifth giant planet. During Neptune's migration, 4 billion years ago, the ice giant might have jum

August 16, 2015

Gemini discovers a young, Jupiter-like planet

Astronomers have imaged a new world of a young Jupiter in unprecedented details, using the Gemini Observatory's new Planet Imager (GPI). They discovered the planet's mass is about twice the Jupiter's, and it seems the planet is the most Solar System-like pla

August 14, 2015

Fascinating world of Ceres with its mysterious bright spots and a pyramid-shaped mountain

Dwarf planet Ceres continues to fascinate scientists with it’s pyramid like mountain and bright spots on its surface. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, the first probe to reach this dwarf planet on March 6, 2015, continues to return images and other data of this

August 10, 2015

A group of mysterious asteroids that could explain the origin of NEOs discovered

Lying near the asteroid rich abyss between Mars and Jupiter high above our Solar System, a unique family of space rocks called Euphrosyne asteroids just got discovered by the scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).The Euphrosynes are distributed at the

August 05, 2015

Unusual red arcs spotted on the surface of Saturn's icy moon Tethys

New enhanced-color images from NASA's Cassini spacecradr revealed unexplained arc-shaped, reddish streaks on the surface of Saturn's icy moon Tethys. The red arcs are narrow, curved lines on the moon's surface, and are among the most unusual color features o

July 31, 2015

Pluto sends planetary scientists back to the drawing board

Today, physicist Wal Thornhill continues his discussion of NASA’s New Horizons mission to the dwarf planet Pluto. The mission has already provided a number of surprises for planetary scientists.The tiny planet’s geological activity, its apparent age, the stu

July 29, 2015

Istok crater on Mars hints at Earth-like climate

A new study of young Istok crater led by Tjalling de Haas of Utrecht University in the Netherlands reveals that Mars, a planet of paradoxes, may have had a climate that resembles that of our own in the recent past.Istok crater, located in the Aonia Terra region of Mars,

July 10, 2015

Auroral substorms on Jupiter are not caused by the solar wind, alone

A previous Picture of the Day published in late 2012 quoted Jonathan Nichols from the University of Leicester:“The main aurora oval on Jupiter we think should dim when the solar wind blows harder, but what we see is that actually gets brighter, which is totally

July 07, 2015

After anomaly and temporary loss of communications New Horizons stays on course to Pluto

After NASA's New Horizons spacecraft suffered an anomaly on July 4, which caused temporary loss of communications, mission control announced today the spacecraft is healthy and it continues on its course toward Pluto for a historic July 14 flyby.Contact with the spa

July 06, 2015

Final 'all clear' for historic July 14 Pluto flyby

Having found no potential threats on the way, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft stays course to Pluto, as it speeds closer to it's historic July 14, 2015 flyby of Pluto and it's five moons. Launched from Cape Canaveral on January 19, 2006, New Horizons woke up

July 04, 2015

Venus - volcanically active Solar System body?

Scientists working for the ESA's Venus Express mission have recently presented the best evidence yet for existence of active volcanoes on planet Venus. Previous radar missions have revealed Venus to be covered in volcanoes and lava flows and it is long assumed that

July 01, 2015

Mars might have liquid water

Researchers have long known that there was water in the form of ice on Mars. Now, new research from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows that it is possible that there is liquid water close to the surface of Mars. The explanation is that the substance perchlorate

April 22, 2015

Gamma-ray spectrometer prompts researchers to rethink how Mercury formed

A versatile instrument developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and riding on the first spacecraft to ever orbit Mercury is causing researchers to rethink their theories on the planet’s formation.Known as the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer,

April 19, 2015

Scientists identify missing wave near Jupiter’s equator

In the clouds of Jupiter, scientists have found evidence of a type of atmospheric wave that had long been proposed but had not been identified in images before now.Researchers consider this kind of wave, called a Kelvin wave, a fundamental part of a planetary atmosphere

April 19, 2015

Dawn's new Ceres color map reveals surface diversity

A new color map of dwarf planet Ceres, which NASA's Dawn spacecraft has been orbiting since March 2015, reveals the diversity of the surface of this planetary body. Differences in morphology and color across the surface suggest Ceres was once an active body, Dawn

April 14, 2015

Are bright spots on Ceres electric?

In March, the NASA Dawn Spacecraft entered the orbit of the mysterious dwarf planet Ceres, with the craft scheduled to begin sending images to Earth later this month.For several weeks, surprising and unexplained bright spots within a crater on the planet’s surface

April 08, 2015