Rumors are flying that astronomers at the European Southern Observatory have discovered an Earth-like exoplanet in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, our nearest neighboring star. If confirmed, this is undeniably one of the biggest astronomical discoveries of the century.
After five years and 445 million miles, NASA’s Juno mission arrives in orbit around Jupiter on Monday to begin an unprecedented scientific study of the behemoth planet that shaped our solar system.
For centuries, astronomers have been enchanted by the planet Jupiter, that roiling sea of clouds punctuated by a glowering red eye. But we’ve only had the fuzziest notion of what lies beneath this violent visage—until now.
Something about the planet Mercury doesn’t sit right with astronomers: It’s too dark. Darker than the Moon, despite containing way less iron. But at long last, scientists have solved the mystery—and their discovery is shedding light on the fascinating past of the Solar System’s innermost planet.
If you thought the Kepler spacecraft’s glory days were over, think again. Today at the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, astronomers announced a whopping 234 new exoplanet candidates discovered by Kepler in 2014. The best part? All of them are just tens of light years away.
We’re so close to Pluto, we’re starting to see geologic features on the dwarf planet’s surface. In its latest portrait from the New Horizons spacecraft, scientists are able to pick out distant surface formations, including a polygonal band of terrain stretching east-northeast across the planet, and a dark band near the south pole that’s now being called ‘the whale.’