Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will soon give us valuable data on the dozens of distant objects found beyond the orbit of Neptune in a region known as the Kuiper belt.
The mission includes a flyby of Neptune and measurements of the heliosphere, the electrically charged gas bubble surrounding our solar system
Gonggong is the fan favorite name for this icy distant world, but the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Committee for Small-Body Nomenclature has the final say.
It’s time to give 2007 OR10 a name. We’re asking for your help to pick a suitable name for the largest as-yet-unnamed solar system world to submit to the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
In a new preprint, Mike Brown and Bryan Butler show evidence that two Kuiper belt moons are even bigger than we used to think. They are Eris' moon Dysnomia, and Orcus' moon Vanth.
Haumea has a ring! Two telescopes used in the discovery—one in Slovenia, and one in Italy—received funding from The Planetary Society's Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) Grant program, which helps amateur astronomers find, track and characterize near-Earth asteroids.
Last week's Division for Planetary Sciences/European Planetary Science Congress meeting was chock-full of science from New Horizons at Pluto.
The third-largest object known beyond Neptune, 2007 OR10, has a moon. The discovery was reported in a poster by Gábor Marton, Csaba Kiss, and Thomas Mueller at the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society (DPS/EPSC) on Monday.
Pluto’s small moons have unusual rotation rates and states. Now we know a moon of another dwarf planet does as well. Is there a connection?
The solar system beyond Neptune is full of worlds hosting moons. Now we know that the dwarf planet Makemake has one of its very own.
A new paper by Renu Malhotra proposes that an undiscovered distant planet could have organized extremely distant Kuiper belt objects into orbital resonances.
Pluto is reluctant to give up its secrets. Last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting I attended sessions featuring results from the New Horizons mission, and most of the presentations could be summed up thusly: the data sets are terrific, but there are still a lot of Pluto features that have scientists scratching their heads.
I have a newly updated scale comparison graphic to share: all the round worlds in the solar system smaller than 10,000 kilometers in diameter, now with added Pluto, Charon, and Ceres.
Last week, the pile of New Horizons LORRI camera raw image releases included nine frames from a high-resolution mosaic on Charon. Together with the color MVIC view, they make a 3D global photo of Pluto's moon. Other recently released goodies include a global backlit color image of Pluto and the first image that resolves the tiny moon Styx.
Now that New Horizons is regularly sending back data, the mission is settling into a routine of releasing a set of captioned images on Thursdays, followed by raw LORRI images on Friday. The Thursday releases give us the opportunity to see lovely color data from the spacecraft's Ralph MVIC instrument. This week, the newly available color data set covered Charon.
Enlarge this image to its full 8000-pixel-square glory and lose yourself in it.
Today, New Horizons released a stunning new image of Pluto's backlit mountains and hazes. I explain how the image was taken with its Ralph Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera.
New Horizons has begun the long process of downlinking all the images it acquired during its July Pluto flyby.
It has been a difficult wait for new New Horizons images, but the wait is almost over; Alan Stern announced at today's Outer Planets Advisory Group meeting that image downlink will resume September 5. In the meantime, a few space fans are making the most of the small amount of data that has been returned to date.
I don't think anyone was prepared for the beauty -- or the instant scientific discoveries -- in this