Planets

This spectacular image of the Orion Nebula star-formation region was obtained from multiple exposures using the HAWK-I infrared camera on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

Breathtaking New Images Capture Failed Stars and Planet-Sized Objects Inside the Orion Nebula

It’s the deepest look into the nebula ever seen before

An artist's concept of a moon-sized body slamming into a Mercury-sized world in another solar system. High speed collisions like this were more likely to occur in systems with gas giants, but they took place early in a planet's life, allowing time for the world to recover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

How a Young Jupiter Acted as Both Protector and Destroyer

Like a boisterous older sibling, the gas giant both beat up and protected young Earth

An artist's rendition of Juno in orbit around Jupiter. The craft is powered entirely by the sun's rays.

It's Official: We Are Now in Orbit Around Jupiter

After a nerve-wracking entry, NASA spacecraft Juno successfully entered the gas giant's orbit

Meet Three of Earth's Tiny Celestial Buddies

A handful of quasi-satellites, mini-moons and Trojan asteroids tag along with Earth as it whizzes around the sun

This concept drawing shows Juno in orbit around the solar system's largest planet.

Here’s What Will Happen When Juno Gets to Jupiter

It all goes down July 4

In this artist's conception, a carbon planet orbits a sunlike star in the early universe.

Diamond Planets Might Have Hosted Earliest Life

A new study pushes back the earliest date that extraterrestrial life might, maybe, could appear; if so, it'd be on planets made of diamond

Artist's impression of the simultaneous stellar eclipse and planetary transit events on Kepler-1647. Such a double eclipse event is known as a syzygy.

This Jupiter-Sized Planet Is the Largest Found Orbiting Two Suns

Any orbiting moons could be habitable—but scientists have yet to spot them

This artist's concept depicts select planetary discoveries made to date by NASA's Kepler space telescope.

How Would You React If We Discovered Alien Life?

Experts weigh in on what the detection of other life forms might mean to the human race

Why Do Humans Have Canine Teeth and More Questions From Our Readers

You asked, we answered

Mercury’s northern volcanic plains shown in enhanced color to emphasize rocks types. The bottom left portion of the image displays large wrinkle ridges, formed during lava cooling. Near the top of the image, a bright orange region shows the location of a volcanic vent.

See Mercury's Landscape in Stunning Detail

A new map of the planet's surface captures the depths of craters and the peaks of volcanic mountains

An artist's depiction of Kepler's latest planetary find.

Kepler Discovers More Than 1,000 New Exoplanets

The space telescope is still alive and kicking

An illustration of the path Mercury will take across the sun on  May 9.

For The First Time in a Decade, Watch Mercury Cross the Sun's Face

Next week's transit of Mercury is one of the major astronomical events of the year

This artist's concept shows the distant dwarf planet Makemake and its newly discovered moon. Makemake and its moon, nicknamed MK 2, are more than 50 times farther away than Earth is from the sun.

Hubble Spies a Tiny Moon Orbiting Dwarf Planet Makemake

Our solar system still has plenty of surprises

Engineers have been working on improving Orion’s heat shield since the vehicle successfully traveled to space for the first time last year.

Inside the Grand Plan to Send Humans to Mars

NASA's innovative deputy administrator Dava Newman explains just how close we are to sending astronauts far, far away

The 1917 photographic plate spectrum of van Maanen's star from the Carnegie Observatories’ archive.

Scientists Discovered Exoplanets More Than 70 Years Earlier Than Thought

A 1917 glass plate discovered in an observatory archive records the first evidence of exoplanets

The Planet-Hunting Kepler Telescope Entered Emergency Mode

The probe suddenly went into a safe mode for unknown reasons last week

Pluto’s ‘heart’ is a giant crater that may be slowly moving across the dwarf planet’s surface, scientists say.

Pluto May Have a Wandering Heart

The enormous impact basin may be slowly traveling across the dwarf planet’s surface

The bright spots of Occator Crater are shown in enhanced color in this view from NASA's Dawn spacecraft.

New NASA Images Shed Light on Ceres’ Bright Spots

Yet the dwarf planet serves up fresh mysteries

Five New Things We Learned About Pluto This Week

A new set of studies paints Pluto as a weirder planet than scientists once thought

An artist's rendering of the sweltering surface of Venus.

A Giant Planetary Smashup May Have Turned Venus Hot and Hellish

A collision with a large object may have triggered changes deep inside the planet that ultimately affected its atmosphere

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