solar system

The Pluto Comeback?

The beautiful mechanical orrery that hangs from the ceiling of the United Kingdom’s Jodrell Bank observatory looks old, but isn’t. Installed in 2013, the model of the Solar System carries a major clue to its…


Io in the continuing picture

Jupiter’s moon Io continues to be the most volcanically active body in the solar system, as documented by the longest series of frequent, high-resolution observations of the moon’s thermal emission ever obtained. Using near-infrared adaptive…


A last, spectacular dip towards Saturn

After more than 12 years studying Saturn, its rings and moons, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has entered the final year of its epic voyage. The conclusion of the historic scientific odyssey is planned for September 2017,…


Juno close to Jupiter

NASA’s Juno mission successfully executed its first of 36 orbital flybys of Jupiter today. The time of closest approach with the gas-giant world was 6:44 a.m. PDT (9:44 a.m. EDT, 13:44 UTC) when Juno passed…


Is Planet 9 a visiting stranger?

We investigate the prospects for the capture of the proposed Planet 9 from other stars in the Sun’s birth cluster. Any capture scenario must satisfy three conditions: the encounter must be more distant than ∼150…


It’s time to give 2007 OR10 a name

Dwarf planets tend to be a mysterious bunch. With the exception of Ceres, which resides in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, all members of this class of minor planets in our solar…


New Moon

Peering to the outskirts of our solar system, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a small, dark moon orbiting Makemake, the second brightest icy dwarf planet–after Pluto–in the Kuiper Belt. The moon–provisionally designated S/2015 (136472)…