Solar System

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

The bright red regions were thought to be caused by molecules known as tholins, or organic compounds that rain down onto the surface after cosmic rays or ultraviolet light interact with the methane in Pluto's surface and atmosphere.

Pluto's Red Patches Are Mystifying Scientists

A new study suggests there's more to the dwarf planet's rust-colored deposits than meets the eye

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

Streaked across Ganymede's surface are bright light-colored regions of ridges and grooves that overlap darker-colored terrains along the icy shell. The textured scar-like areas suggest that the moon's surface underwent extreme geologic changes over time.

NASA's Juno Space Probe Zooms by Largest Moon in the Solar System

The flyby will be the closest any spacecraft has flown near Ganymede in over two decades

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

Using the detected radio wave, Collinson and his team calculated the density of Venus' ionosphere and compared it to measurements taken back in 1992 using the Pioneer Venus Orbiter.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe Measures Radio Signal in Venus' Upper Atmosphere

The measurements help researchers understand how the planet's ionosphere began leaking

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

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

The Navigation Cameras on Perseverance capture an image of the rover's deck.

Exploring Mars

How to Keep Up With NASA's Perseverance Rover as It Explores Mars

Follow along as the new rover sends incredible data and images back to Earth

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

Published in Scientific Reports, the new study by astronomers Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, propose that a series of break-ups and chance events sent the huge chunk of space rock our way.

Astrophysicists Chart Source of Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs

A new model explains a possible route for the extraterrestrial rock before it blasted Earth

The photograph shows an area about 10,000 miles wide, a small portion of the Sun which is 864,000 miles wide

Brilliant Sunspot Photo Captures the Beginning of a New Solar Cycle

The Inouye Solar Telescope captured the unprecedentedly detailed image of a 3,700-mile-wide sunspot on January 28

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 planets in our solar system all orbit the Sun in one shared plane.

Ask Smithsonian

Why Do the Planets All Orbit the Sun in the Same Plane?

You've got questions. We've got experts

This mosaic of Bennu was created using observations made by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft that was in close proximity to the asteroid for over two years.

New Research

Asteroid Bennu Could Shed Light on How Ingredients for Life Reached Earth

New, detailed imagery of the asteroid’s surface show that it’s covered in boulders and carbon-containing molecules

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

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

New Research

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

They're here until Thursday!

Perseid Meteor Shower Reaches Peak Starting Tonight

The early mornings of August 11, 12 and 13 are the best times to view the annual summer 'shooting star' display

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

Three of the four units of the ESO's Very Large Telescope, in Chile's Atacama desert

See Two Giant Exoplanets Orbit a Distant Star in This Rare Image

Researchers used the Very Large Telescope in Chile to capture the image