Planets

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

Exoplanet GJ 1132 b was discovered in 2015 and is about 41 light years away from Earth

New Research

Unusual Exoplanet Might Be Regrowing Its Atmosphere

Remnants of the first atmosphere trapped under the planet’s thin crust might escape through volcanic eruptions

Although the planets seem like they are close in proximity and we can see them in the Earthly skies they are millions of miles far away with Saturn being the farthest at billions of miles away.

A Rare Astronomical Phenomenon of Three Planets Aligning Occurs This Week

Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury are visible in the pre-dawn sky this week, along with a crescent moon

NASA's latest image of Venus taken by the Parker Solar Probe. Using Venus's gravity, the Parker Probe will circle our host star seven times while getting closer and closer over the course of seven years.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe Snaps Luminous Photo of Venus

The image revealed unknown capabilities of the imaging instrument, WISPR, aboard the Parker Solar Probe and more insight into the planet's atmosphere

Researchers simulated how colliding dust particles imitating a dust storm on the red planet may emit tiny violet flickers of electricity known as triboelectrification, or static charges.

Dust Storms on Mars May Sparkle and Glow at Night

Martian dust clouds may create miniature statically-charged sparks, which could help researchers further understand the planet's atmosphere

Artist’s conception of the Perseverance rover sampling rocks on the floor of Jezero crater. The rover also carries the Ingenuity helicopter (not shown) that can fly in advance of the rover and scout out high priority rocks and outcrops for the rover to visit.

Smithsonian Voices

Is There Life on Mars?

Smithsonian scientist John Grant says we have to know what to look for and where to go on the planet for evidence

Could humans be visiting Venus in the future?

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