Is 'Planet 9' Really a Second Massive Kuiper Belt?

The Kuiper Belt is a massive collection of dwarf planet- and asteroid-sized worlds orbiting far past Neptune. Is the hypothetical Planet 9 really a second such belt? Image Credit: T. Pyle (SSC)/JPL-Caltech/NASA

The announcement of a possible large ninth planet in our Solar System way beyond Neptune last month caused a lot of […]

Has 'Planet X' Finally Been Found? A Cautionary Tale

Artist’s conception of Planet Nine. The new evidence is the best so far that a massive planet exists far past Neptune in the outer Solar System. Image Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

For a long time now, there have been theories and rumors regarding the possible existence of another planet in our Solar System, […]

Rosetta Scientists Answer Question of How 'Rubber Duck' Comet 67P Got Its Shape

Image from July 14, 2015, showing the double-lobed or “rubber duck” shape of Comet 67P and outgassing of water vapor, gas, and dust. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, or 67P, has been the focus of intense study by the Rosetta spacecraft since 2014. One of the key mysteries […]

Rosetta Spacecraft Observes 'Dramatic and Rapid' Changes on Surface of Comet 67P

Sequence of images showing the surface changes in the Imhotep region. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Since August 2014, the Rosetta spacecraft has been orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, providing an unprecedented look at an active comet as it moves closer to the Sun in its orbit. As expected, the level of activity […]

A Perfect Day for Sunbathing: A Year After Its Arrival, Rosetta Observes Comet 67P at Perihelion

From ESA: “This series of images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was captured by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 12 August 2015, just a few hours before the comet reached the closest point to the Sun along its 6.5-year orbit, or perihelion.” The center image shows a significant outburst. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team […]

Philae's First Science Results Highlight an Unexpected Cometary World

From ESA: “Zooming in to a portion of the fractured cliff face imaged by CIVA camera 4 reveals brightness variations in the comet’s surface properties down to centimetre and millimetre scales. The dominant constituents are very dark conglomerates, likely made of organics. The brighter spots could represent mineral grains, perhaps even pointing to […]

Rosetta Team Troubleshoots Philae as Comet's Activity 'Heats Up'

From ESA: ““This single frame Rosetta navigation camera image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken on 14 July 2015 from a distance of 161 km from the comet centre. The image has a resolution of 13.7 m/pixel and measures 14 km across.” Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

The European Space Agency’s […]

To Navigate the Seas of the Sun: NASA's Solar Probe Plus Mission to the Nearest Star

Artist’s impression of NASA’s Solar Probe Plus spacecraft approaching the Sun. Set to launch in 2018, Solar Probe Plus will orbit our home star a total of 24 times while gradually approaching closer with each concecutive orbit, until it eventually achieves a minimum distance of 8.5 solar radii, or 3.7 million miles from […]

Ghost of Comet ISON Fading Fast

The leftovers of comet ISON are fading from view very quickly as the debris races away from the Sun. Photo Credit: NASA / ESA / SOHO

Comet ISON—or whatever is left of it—is fading fast, and the latest images from the NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) LASCO-C3 camera may be […]

Ghost of Comet ISON Rises Like an Icy Phoenix After Suicidal Kamikaze Visit With the Sun

ISON appears as a white smear heading up and away from the Sun. ISON was not visible during its closest approach to the Sun, so many scientists thought it had disintegrated, but images like this one from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory suggest that a small nucleus may be intact. Image/Caption Credit: […]