In a universe full of planets, 2007 OR10 is something special. It’s big, just slightly smaller than the size of Pluto. And it’s close, within our very own solar system. So how did it still manage to take astronomers by surprise?
Our solar system is weird. Not only because we’re unique little snowflakes on a blue marble called Earth but because other stars usually have their giant ass planets (i.e. their Jupiter) orbiting them at a much closer distance. This is really common in other systems! Our Jupiter, however, doesn’t work like that. Why?
A first-of-its-kind space rock filled with pristine material from the formation of the Earth itself has returned to the inner solar system, after billions of years in the cosmic boondocks. And it could help us piece together our planet’s origin story.
New Horizons has been sending back some incredible information about Pluto, but the Dwarf planet isn’t the only thing it’s been studying. NASA recently noted that the spacecraft’s vantage point is ideal for studying Solar Wind, and it’s been doing just that.
The astronomical community is abuzz with the possibility that a ninth planet exists in the far reaches of the solar system. A new study by European scientists imagines what this hypothetical planet might look like, revealing important insights as to how we might actually find it.
We humans are doing a bang-up job of messing up our home planet. But who’s to say we can’t go on to screw things up elsewhere? Here, not listed in any particular order, are 12 unintentional ways we could do some serious damage to our Solar System, too.
There’s been dozens of probes that have gone out exploring the solar system since 1959's Luna 2 probe. PopChartLab has gone and noted down each one since in this beautiful poster of the Solar System.
Using a football field, a drone, some peas, a few pepper flakes, grapes, and some people playing soccer, Mark Rober cleverly built what is probably the easiest to understand scale model of our solar system. What’s even more interesting is that he included Planet Nine too in the scale model just to show how damn far…
On January 24th, 1986, Voyager 2 swept past our system’s seventh planet, Uranus, on its way through the solar system. It was the first and last time we visited the gas giant, and we found it’s one of the stranger locations in our solar system.
There could be a new ninth planet floating beyond the dark edges of our solar system, according to new research published in The Astronomical Journal from CalTech professors Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin.
A pair of new studies claim to have discovered two of the most distant objects ever seen in the outer reaches of the Solar System, including a “Super Earth” located six times further away than Pluto. It’s an extraordinary claim — and it’s also highly unlikely.
Water ice from a subterranean ocean? Giant salt deposits from an alien mining operation? Since March, dwarf planet Ceres’ bright spots have mystified scientists, dazzled space nerds, and sparked all manner of wild speculation. A study published today in Nature has the answers we’ve been waiting for. Ceres, you are one…
Whoosh! Did you see that? It may look a bit scrappy, but the tiny white projectile at the center of the animation below—officially called 1994 JR1— is a cosmic time capsule, brought to you by a piano-sized spacecraft over 3 billion miles away. You’re looking at the closest picture yet of a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) by…
Our biggest planet in the solar system is also one of the best: it’s got crazy weather systems, it’s probably saved Earth from enormous impacts, and it’s got hundreds of moons orbiting it. The Atlantic goes over all the ways Jupiter is their favorite planet.
I’m at a loss for words. This project and accompanying short film, To Scale: The Solar System by Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh, is so incredibly awe-inspiring and so beautifully executed, that it will make me dream of the cosmos tonight (maybe every night). The premise is simple: to build a solar system model to…
Yesterday, we looked at an interactive infographic on the relative orbits of everything in the solar system. Today, let’s compare the planets to one another. This site shows us how all of the solar system’s planets (and Pluto) stack up.
Pluto has been puzzling us with its weirdly smooth surface, but if it’s the first Kuiper Belt Object we’ve visited, how did we know how many craters to expect in the first place? Here’s everything we’ve figured out about collisions in this chaotic area of our Solar System.
New Horizons is just days away from Pluto, and it’s beaming back some incredible images. In the latest set, the probe has shown us that the dwarf planet has two distinct hemispheres, along with some new detail on the darker spots.
What happens when a planetary scientist has a love for order? He creates code that sorts everything from our solar system’s moons to exoplanets into graceful spirals where every object is slightly smaller than the one before. Astronomical knolling is my new favourite way to contemplate the vast scale of space.
You are witnessing the formation of a solar system just like ours, 450 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Taurus, as photographed in detail for the first time in history by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array international observatory in Chile. I'm absolutely stunned.