Planetary Science News

Scientists Estimate the Magnetic Moment of Exoplanet HD 209458b

November 21, 2014

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Scientists Estimate the Magnetic Field of an Exoplanet

A team of scientists has developed a new method that allows them to estimate the magnetic field of a distant exoplanets. Using this method they managed to estimate the value of the magnetic moment of the planet HD 209458b. In the two decades which passed since the discovery of the first planet outside the Solar […]

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Martian Rock Provides Clues to Wet History

November 19, 2014

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Textures in Rock Provide Evidence about Wet Environmental Conditions on Ancient Mars

This close-up image of a Martian rock has provided scientists with evidence about wet environmental conditions in the ancient past on Mars. This close-up view of a target rock called “Last Chance” was acquired by the microscopic imager on the arm of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on March 3, 2004, during the 39th Martian […]

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Cassini Views Saturn’s Uppermost Cloud Layers

November 18, 2014

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Cassini Views Saturn's Clouds

This newly released image of Saturn’s uppermost cloud layers was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on August 23, 2014. Nature is an artist, and this time she seems to have let her paints swirl together a bit. What the viewer might perceive to be Saturn’s surface is really just the tops of its […]

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NASA Model Provides a New Look at How Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere Travels

November 18, 2014

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A Year in the Life of Earth's CO2

This three minute video shows how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe over a 12 month period. An ultra-high-resolution NASA computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe. Plumes of carbon dioxide in the simulation swirl and shift as winds […]

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Research Shows Volcanism and Greenhouse Gas Could Have Warmed Mars

November 17, 2014

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Research Shows Warmth and Flowing Water on Early Mars

New research from Brown University and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science shows that warmth and water flow on ancient Mars were probably episodic, related to brief periods of volcanic activity that spewed tons of greenhouse-inducing sulfur dioxide gas into the atmosphere. Providence, Rhode Island (Brown University) — Ample evidence of ancient rivers, streams, and lakes […]

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New Clues About Hidden the Interior of Uranus Revealed

November 14, 2014

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Clues About Hidden Interior of Uranus Revealed

Using images NASA’s Voyager-2, astronomer Erich Karkoschka has uncovered features in Uranus’ atmosphere that reveal an unexpected, strange rotation pattern and point to the possible existence of an unusual feature inside the planet’s interior. The findings shed light on the interior structures of giant gas planets, not only of Uranus, a planet for which observational […]

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A Strong Magnetic Field Shaped the Early Solar System

November 14, 2014

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Study Finds That a Strong Magnetic Field Shaped the Early Solar System

New research reveals the first experimental evidence that our solar system’s protoplanetary disk was shaped by an intense magnetic field that drove a massive amount of gas into the sun within just a few million years. Infant planetary systems are usually nothing more than swirling disks of gas and dust. Over the course of a […]

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Jupiter’s Red Spot – A Product of Simple Chemicals Being Broken Apart by Sunlight

November 13, 2014

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Red Spot on Jupiter is Likely a Sunburn

New data from NASA’s Cassini mission reveal that the color of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is likely a product of simple chemicals being broken apart by sunlight in the planet’s upper atmosphere, contradicting the other leading theory for the origin of the spot’s striking color — that the reddish chemicals come from beneath Jupiter’s clouds. […]

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Cassini Spots a Bright Feature in Titan’s Largest Sea, Kraken Mare

November 11, 2014

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Cassini Spots a Bright Feature in Kraken Mare

During a recent flyby, the Cassini spacecraft observed new, bright features in the seas that might be related to the mysterious feature that researchers dubbed the “magic island.” NASA’s Cassini mission continues its adventures in extraterrestrial oceanography with new findings about the hydrocarbon seas on Saturn’s moon Titan. The findings are being presented this week […]

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Spacecraft Reveal Siding Spring’s Effects on Martian Atmosphere

November 10, 2014

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NASA Spacecraft Reveal Comet Flyby Effects on Martian Atmosphere

Data from several spacecraft have revealed that debris from Comet Siding Spring added a temporary and very strong layer of ions to the ionosphere of Mars, allowing scientists to make a direct connection from the input of debris from a specific meteor shower to the formation of this kind of transient layer in response. Two […]

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ALMA Reveals Birth of Planets in Astonishing Detail

November 6, 2014

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ALMA Views Planet Formation Around an Infant Star

While testing the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array’s new high-resolution capabilities, astronomers captured the best image ever of planet formation around an infant star. This revolutionary new image reveals in astonishing detail the planet-forming disk surrounding HL Tau, a Sun-like star located approximately 450 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus. ALMA uncovered never-before-seen features in […]

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Curiosity Rover Provides First Confirmation of a Mineral Mapped from Orbit

November 5, 2014

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Curiosity Provides First Confirmation of a Mineral Mapped from Orbit

A sample of powdered rock extracted by the Curiosity rover’s drill from the “Confidence Hills” target has provided NASA scientists with the first confirmation of a mineral mapped from orbit. “This connects us with the mineral identifications from orbit, which can now help guide our investigations as we climb the slope and test hypotheses derived […]

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MAVEN Spacecraft Set to Continue Mars Exploration

November 4, 2014

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MAVEN Continues Mars Exploration

The 10 month, 442 million mile trip is complete and the MAVEN spacecraft is set to continue the exploration of Mars that began 50 years ago. When the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft arrived at the Red Planet on September 21, it marked the continuation of exploration of one of Earth’s nearest […]

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