The International Astronomical Union has named 17 minor planets as part of its NameExoWorlds contest. Looking at the winning monikers—which include such dreadful titles as “Miguelhernández” and “Thunder Bay”—it’s now painfully clear that the system of naming celestial objects is broken.
Swooping by at a unique angle, NASA’s Dawn space probe recently captured some of the clearest views yet of dwarf planet Ceres, including Occator Crater and its intriguing bright surface features.
It’s been eight months since New Horizons made its historic flyby of Pluto, but data keeps on trickling in from the intrepid space probe. Scientists have now produced a new composite map, creating the sharpest and most detailed look at the dwarf planet yet.
We once considered the Sun a planet, and it took finding Uranus to decide that moons should really be their own category of thing. These are all the places in our solar system that were once planets—but now have far more suitable names.
Researchers at MIT have detected features around Chiron — a centaur in orbit between Saturn and Uranus — that indicate a ring system, or possibly jets or a shell of dust. If confirmed, it would only be the second minor planet in our Solar System known to host rings.
Astronomers tend to assume that the timing of Earth-striking meteors are completely random, but a recent analysis suggests that meteor impacts are more likely to occur at certain times of the year and at certain locations.