Planets

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.

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

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.

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?

Will We Ever Send Humans to Venus?

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

The orbits of the Extreme Trans-Neptunian Objects (ETNOs) were tilted and elongated towards the sun, leading researchers to suspect the ETNOs were bunched together because of Planet Nine's gravitational pull.

New Study Knocks Theory of Planet Nine's Existence Out of Orbit

It was previously thought the object's gravitational pull was responsible for the strange orbits of six dwarf planets that whiz beyond Neptune

An artist's illustration imagines the newly discovered Farfarout (lower right), now confirmed to be the most distant object ever observed in our solar system. Farfarout is 132 times the distance of Earth to the sun (upper left) and is estimated to be around 250 miles across.

Meet Farfarout, the Most Distant Object in the Solar System

The new planetoid unseats Farout, which held the title for about two years

"We didn’t think there was a lot of wind-driven activity on Mars because the atmosphere is so thin,” says the Smithsonian's Mariah Baker. “We’ve discovered that Mars is a very active place."

Why a Smithsonian Researcher Is Tracking the Wind on Mars

When Perseverance lands, Mariah Baker will collect data that will prepare the way for crewed missions to the Red Planet

Ingenuity undertakes its first test flight on Mars in this illustration.

NASA's Helicopter Ingenuity Will Attempt the First Flight on Mars

If the craft succeeds, it will provide crucial information for exploring the other planets by air

An artist's rendering of the five-planet system that orbits star HD 108236, or TOI-1233. In the foreground is a hot, rocky planet that resembles Earth.

Balancing Homework and A.P. Classes, These High Schoolers Discovered Four Exoplanets

Thanks to a Harvard-Smithsonian mentoring program, high school students Kartik Pinglé and Jasmine Wright helped discover new worlds

The Parkes Telescope in Australia

Astronomers Discover Mysterious Radio Signal From Proxima Centauri

Scientists searching for aliens are trying to understand the signal’s origins

This year's top ten titles explore the cosmos, fear and cleanliness alongside narratives about owls, fish and eels.

The Ten Best Science Books of 2020

New titles explore the mysterious lives of eels, the science of fear and our connections to the stars

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is name after NASA's first chief of astronomy.

How NASA’s New Telescope Will Help Astronomers Discover Free-Floating Worlds

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be able to detect small, distant planets without stars

This illustration depicts a giant planet the size of Jupiter, WD 1856 b. The planet is about seven times larger than the white dwarf star that it orbits every 34 hours.

This Giant Planet Is Orbiting a Dead Star

In a first, NASA astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting a 'dead' white dwarf star

Venus, the second planet from the sun

In Clouds on Venus, New Potential for Microbial Life

Astronomers have detected a chemical in Venus’ atmosphere that signifies life on Earth. Could it mean the same on Venus?

This orthographic projection shows Ceres, centered on Occator crater and the brightest spot on Ceres.

NASA Mission Shows Dwarf Planet Ceres Is Geologically Active

Seven studies of data from the Dawn spacecraft’s final orbit makes the case for liquid under the dwarf planet's surface

An illustration of high-altitude "shallow lightning" storms on Jupiter

The Forecast on Jupiter Is Cloudy With a Chance of 'Mushballs'

New research describes the gas giant's wild weather

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