Planetary Science News

Astronomers Discover a Low-Mass Planet with a Highly Inconsistent Orbit

October 30, 2014

1 Comment

PH3c A Low Mass Planet with a Highly Inconsistent Orbit

Yale astronomers and the Planet Hunter program have discovered a low-mass, low-density planet that has a highly inconsistent orbit time around its sun. The new planet, called PH3c, is located 2,300 light years from Earth and has an atmosphere loaded with hydrogen and helium. The elusive orb nearly avoided detection. This is because PH3c has […]

Continue reading...

Cassini Identifies a High-Altitude Methane Ice Cloud on Titan

October 27, 2014

0 Comments

Researchers Identify an Unexpected High Altitude Methane Ice Cloud on Titan

Using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, astronomers have identified an unexpected high-altitude methane ice cloud on Saturn’s moon Titan that is similar to exotic clouds found far above Earth’s poles. This lofty cloud, imaged by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, was part of the winter cap of condensation over Titan’s north pole. Now, eight years after spotting […]

Continue reading...

NASA Maps of Titan Reveal Large Patches of Trace Gases

October 24, 2014

0 Comments

New Maps of Saturn's Moon Titan Reveal Large Patches of Trace Gases

Researchers investigating the chemical make-up of Titan’s atmosphere have discovered large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles Saturn’s moon Titan. New maps of Saturn’s moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles. These regions are curiously shifted off the poles, to […]

Continue reading...

Saturn’s Moon Mimas May Have a Liquid Water Ocean Beneath the Surface

October 17, 2014

1 Comment

Saturn Moon Mimas May Have a Fossil Core or an Ocean

New data from NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft reveal that Saturn’s moon Mimas may have a liquid water ocean beneath the moon’s impact-battered surface. A new study focused on the interior of Saturn’s icy moon Mimas suggests its cratered surface hides one of two intriguing possibilities: Either the moon’s frozen core is shaped something like a football, […]

Continue reading...

New ScienceCast Video: The Cloudy Future of Arctic Sea Ice

October 16, 2014

0 Comments

The Cloudy Future of Arctic Sea Ice

A new four minute ScienceCast video explores the shrinking coverage of Arctic sea ice and how the reduction could affect worldwide weather. ScienceCasts: The Cloudy Future of Arctic Sea Ice: As climate change continues to hammer Arctic sea ice, pushing back its summertime boundaries to record-high latitudes, NASA is flying an innovative airborne mission to […]

Continue reading...

MAVEN Provides First Look at the Upper Atmosphere of Mars

October 15, 2014

0 Comments

MAVEN Provides First Look at Martian Upper Atmosphere

NASA’s MAVEN mission has provided scientists with their first look at the upper atmosphere of Mars. NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has provided scientists their first look at a storm of energetic solar particles at Mars, produced unprecedented ultraviolet images of the tenuous oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon coronas surrounding the Red Planet, […]

Continue reading...

A Magnetic Field Flip Could Occur Over a Short Period of Time

October 15, 2014

3 Comments

Earths Magnetic Field Could Flip Over a Short Time Period

Earth’s magnetic field is decreasing 10 times faster than normal, leading some geophysicists to predict a magnetic reversal to occur within a few thousand years. New research from an international team of scientists shows that this reversal could happen over a short period of time – less than a hundred years. Berkeley — Imagine the […]

Continue reading...

MIT Assesses the Technical Feasibility of the Mars One Mission

October 14, 2014

1 Comment

Assessing the Technical Feasibility of the Proposed Mars One Mission

A new independent assessment of the Mars One Mission from MIT engineers reveals that the project may have to take a step back, at least to reconsider the mission’s technical feasibility. In 2012, the “Mars One” project, led by a Dutch nonprofit, announced plans to establish the first human colony on the Red Planet by […]

Continue reading...

Herschel Observations and Simulations of the Debris Disk Around Tau Ceti

October 14, 2014

0 Comments

Herschel Views the Debris Disc of Solar Analogue Tau Ceti

Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics studied the debris disc around τ Ceti, revealing that a Jupiter-mass planet could not be present in this system – making it less than ideal as a Solar system analog. Although thousands of exoplanets and hundreds of planetary systems (stars with multiple exoplanets) are now known, astronomers still […]

Continue reading...

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Finds Evidence of “Recent” Lunar Volcanism

October 13, 2014

0 Comments

NASA Finds Evidence of Young Volcanism on the Moon

New data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals evidence of basaltic volcanism on the Moon occurring within the past 100 million years. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has provided researchers strong evidence the moon’s volcanic activity slowed gradually instead of stopping abruptly a billion years ago. Scores of distinctive rock deposits observed by LRO are […]

Continue reading...

NASA Prepares For Comet’s Close Encounter with Mars

October 10, 2014

0 Comments

NASA Prepares for Comet Siding Spring to Pass Mars

NASA is preparing its science fleet for comet Sliding Spring’s close encounter with Mars, which will occur on October 19 when Sliding Spring passes within about 87,000 miles of the Red Planet. NASA’s extensive fleet of science assets, particularly those orbiting and roving Mars, have front row seats to image and study a once-in-a-lifetime comet […]

Continue reading...

Hubble Measures Temperature and Water Vapor on Exoplanet WASP-43b

October 10, 2014

2 Comments

Hubble Maps Temperature and Water Vapor on WASP-43b

A team of astronomers used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to make the most detailed global map yet of the glow from a turbulent planet outside our solar system, measuring the temperature and tracing the amount and distribution of water vapor on exoplanet WASP-43b. Hubble observations show the exoplanet, called WASP-43b, is no place to call […]

Continue reading...