Planets

An artist's rendition of the eight planets in our solar system. The planets are depicted closer together than they really are.

Astronomers Propose New Criteria to Classify Planets, but Pluto Still Doesn't Make the Cut

The new definition would define planets based on mass, rather than more ambiguous shape and size characteristics

An artist’s depiction of HD 189733b encountering an eruption of x-rays from the star it’s orbiting

This Nearby Exoplanet Is Hot, Dangerous—and Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Located about 64 light-years away from Earth, the world is the first place astronomers have detected hydrogen sulfide outside our solar system

One of Cassini's last looks at Saturn and its main rings from a distance, produced by combining images taken in October 2016

Here’s What We’ve Learned About Saturn Since Cassini Entered Its Orbit 20 Years Ago

The Cassini-Huygens mission increased our understanding of the planet’s rings and moons

Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a large storm that has persisted for at least 190 years.

Jupiter's Signature Red Spot May Have Evolved More Than Once

The planet's massive storm, known as the Great Red Spot, seems to be different from a spot first observed at roughly the same location in the 17th century, a new study finds

Purple squares illustrate auroras on Mars, as detected by NASA’s MAVEN orbiter between May 14 and May 20. The brighter the purple, the more auroras present.

Mars Was Hit With a Solar Storm Days After Earth's Aurora Light Show, NASA Says

Studying this event could hold lessons for scientists about how to protect astronauts from radiation on future trips to the Red Planet

A simulated perspective of Olympus Mons, the tallest volcano in the solar system, with water frost at its peak.

Astronomers Discover Water Frost on Mars' Tallest Volcanoes

On early winter mornings, a thin layer of ice forms in craters atop the Red Planet's towering peaks, near its equator, according to a new study

The Milky Way is visible at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in western Colorado.

These National Parks Are Hosting Astronomy Festivals in 2024

Get outside, ditch the light pollution and marvel at the cosmos on these protected public lands

An illustration of our solar system's planets in a line. This week, six planets appeared to be in a line from Earth's perspective, but they did not acutally align in space.

Missed the 'Parade of Planets'? These Upcoming Alignments Will Likely Be Better, Anyway

Astronomers tempered expectations of the celestial event this week, pointing to others in the near future as more exciting opportunities for sky watchers

A computer-generated model of Sif Mons, a volcano on Venus. The new study found evidence of recent volcanic activity at Sif Mons and the Niobe Planitia region.

Venus Might Still Have Active Volcanoes, as Recent Lava Flows Suggest 'Ongoing' Eruptions

Astronomers have again discovered evidence of recent volcanic activity on Earth's sister planet in data from the 1990s

A composite image of Jupiter, taken by the Juno spacecraft

The Seven Most Amazing Discoveries We’ve Made by Exploring Jupiter

The giant planet is a world of extremes

An artist's concept of 55 Cancri e and its sun. The star is much closer to its sun than any planet in our solar system, so it is too hot to support life.

Astronomers Discover an Atmosphere on a Hot, Rocky Exoplanet With an Ocean of Magma

It's the best evidence yet of an atmosphere on a rocky planet outside our solar system, researchers say, and studying the distant world could provide insight into Earth’s early days

This false-colored image of Mercury reflects the varying age and mineral composition of the surface.

The Seven Most Amazing Discoveries We’ve Made by Exploring Mercury

Only two robotic missions have made it to the Swift Planet, but they were crucial for upending many false assumptions of that sun-scorched world

Antarctic meteorite (HUT 18036) is found partially submerged in ice, as opposed to resting atop the surface. 

Meteorites Are Becoming Harder to Find as They Sink Into Antarctica's Melting Ice

The disappearing space rocks are burying valuable clues into the history and composition of our solar system, according to a new study

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Why We Love Eclipses

Two perspectives on the astronomical phenomenon that has fascinated humans for as long as we’ve been watching the skies

The darker areas across Titan's equatorial regions represent its dunes, as taken by the Cassini rover.

Titan's Massive Dunes May Be a Comet and Moon Graveyard From the Early Solar System

A new modeling study suggests the dark dunes on Saturn's largest moon are made of tiny particles created by crashing comets and moonlets billions of years ago

Officials have been working toward the designation for four years.

Oregon Is Now Home to the World's Largest Dark Sky Sanctuary

The Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary covers 2.5 million acres in the southeastern part of the state

Mars' orbit has an impact on Earth's oceans and climate in cycles of 2.4 million years, new research finds.

Mars Has an Unexpected Influence on Earth's Oceans and Climate, Repeating Every 2.4 Million Years, Study Finds

The gravitational interactions between Mars and Earth as they orbit the sun may have periodically promoted a warmer climate and changes in ocean circulation on our home planet

Math historian Glen Van Brummelen came across decimal points in Giovanni Bianchini's manuscript, Tabulae primi mobilis B.

The Decimal Point Is 150 Years Older Than Previously Thought, Medieval Manuscript Reveals

A Venetian merchant used the mathematical symbol while calculating the positions of planets between 1441 and 1450

NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft captured this view of Venus. The world has blistering surface temperatures, crushing atmospheric pressure and clouds of corrosive acid.

The Six Most Amazing Discoveries We’ve Made by Exploring Venus

Our sister planet’s cloudy exterior gave it an aura of mystery—until humanity developed the technology to probe past the veil

Saturn's moon Mimas has a giant impact crater, named Hershel, that stretches across a third of its surface and makes it resemble the "Death Star" from Star Wars.

An Icy Moon of Saturn May Be Hiding a Vast Ocean Under Its Crust, Surprising Astronomers

Researchers suggest a global ocean lies 15 miles beneath the surface of Saturn's "Death Star" moon, Mimas—a shocking discovery that could redefine what a habitable world looks like

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