Planets

An artist’s conception of the James Webb Space Telescope at work.

The James Webb Telescope Successfully Launches Into Space

A rocket carrying the $10 billion dollar invention blasted off Christmas morning and powered up as planned, providing astronomers with a long-awaited gift

Jovian moon Ganymede, is the only moon known to have a magnetic field. On its most recent flyby of the moon, the JunoCam imager on NASA's Juno spacecraft snapped the most detailed images of Ganymede on June 7, 2021.

 

Jupiter's Moon Ganymede Sounds Like Dial-Up Internet

The 50-second audio track was pieced together from data collected by NASA's Juno Spacecraft

While the nebula can be observed in visible light (as seen in the image above), it gets its name from how brightly it also appears when viewed in infrared wavelengths of light.
 

Hidden Within This Wispy, Butterfly Wing–Shaped Nebula, a Star Is Born

The image of a budding celestial body reveals clues as to what happens before it becomes a full-fledged star

Astronomers and planetary scientists interested in understanding how often or when the weather patterns occur use past and present images to compare how the planets change over time.

Say Cheese, Outer Planets! Hubble Captures New Images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune

New images of the solar system's giants give astronomers insight into atmospheric activity on other worlds

One reader wonders why more flowers and fruits aren't blue-hued.

Ask Smithsonian

Why Are So Few Flowers and Fruits Blue? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

A rainbow appears after a storm on the faux-Martian habitat.

Inside the Experiment to Create Mars on Earth

A hostile landscape. Cramped quarters. Dehydrated food. A photographer takes part in an attempt to live on another planet

An illustration of Saturn and its "fuzzy" core.

Saturn's Seismic Activity Makes Waves in Its Iconic Rings

Scientists uncover new insight into the planet's core based on observations of its rippling rings

The ascent module (pictured) may still be orbiting the moon—or it exploded. According to the new calculations, the space junk never crash-landed onto the moon's surface as previously expected.

Part of the Apollo 11 Spacecraft May Still Be Orbiting the Moon

New research suggests the 'Eagle' ascent stage either exploded in space or remains in orbit—but it likely didn't crash land back on the lunar surface

After about a month of darkness, Hubble is back online and already collection impressive scientific data.

Retired NASA Engineers Return to Fix Hubble Telescope

The repaired space computer is back online and already beaming spectacular images of distant galaxies back to Earth

Jupiter and its largest moon Ganymede are shown in this image. Ganymede is slightly larger than the planet Mercury. Meanwhile, Jupiter's new 80th moon is much smaller, likely only a few dozen miles in diameter.

Amateur Astronomer Discovers New Moon Orbiting Jupiter

Kai Ly spotted the unnamed satellite using telescope images from 2003

People lie on the ground to view the Perseid meteor shower in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado at an astronomy night event on August 12, 2018.

How to Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower

Known for its 'fireball' meteors, the Perseid shower began on July 14 and will peak in mid-August

Palomar 5 is located about 80,000 light-years from Earth in the Milky Way’s inner halo.

Scientists Discover Bevy of Black Holes in Our Own Galaxy

Palomar 5's unusual cluster may explain some of the Milky Way's star streams and other phenomena

An artist's rendering of the Earth and sun seen from space. Astronomers on Earth can detect other worlds when far away stars flicker as an orbiting planet passes in front of them, partly blocking our view. New research asks how many alien worlds might have been able to detect Earth in this way.

New Research

If Aliens Exist in These 1,700 Solar Systems, They Can Probably See Earth

Hypothetical alien astronomers orbiting these stars could have seen the sun’s light flicker as Earth passed in front of it

A radar image of Venus' largest block of crust, located in the planet's lowlands and identified by the authors of a new paper.

New Research

Venus May Still Be Geologically Active

Radar images of the planet’s surface suggest large sections of its crust appear to have moved in the geologically recent past

It’s considered one of the coldest and smallest exoplanets discovered so far.

This Neptune-Like Exoplanet May Have Water Clouds

Despite the possible presence of water vapor, TOI-1231 b is likely not habitable because of its size

In the images, the Great Red Spot, Jupiter's superstorm, is seen in both visible and ultraviolet light, but it disappears into the background as a black splotch in the infrared image.

Peer Into Jupiter's Gassy Atmosphere With These Stunning New Photos

The images taken at various wavelengths reveal details about the gas giant's stormy atmosphere

NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this image of swirling clouds in Jupiter's northern latitudes on November 3, 2019

New Research

Raindrops Are Surprisingly Similar on Other Planets

Whether they are made of water, methane or liquid iron, raindrops' size and shape are limited by the same equations

The Perseverance captured this image of itself and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter days before its maiden flight.

Smithsonian Voices

What to Expect When Ingenuity Takes Flight This Week on Mars

Nicknamed 'Ginny,' the Mars helicopter is set to take off from the surface of the Red Planet no earlier than April 14

The pink splotch on the planet shows the X-rays detected in 2002 imposed on a photo of Uranus taken in 2004 at the same orientation.

Scientists Detect X-Rays Radiating From Uranus

The beams could be scattered light from the Sun, fluorescence from Uranus's rings, or produced by auroras on the ice giant

Life on Earth began to appear at least 3.5 billion years ago; by then, Mars had already lost much of its water into the crust or outer space.

New Research

Mars' Missing Water Might Be Hiding in Its Minerals

New research estimates how much water was absorbed into the mineral makeup of Mars' crust

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