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The Solar System

In the Solar System Channel, you can explore the planets and celestial objects around our own sun. Learn about topics such as Mars, Jupiter and the Moon.

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How Old Is Earth and How Did Scientists Figure It Out?

In 1953, CalTech geochemist Clair Patterson came up with an estimate for Earth's age that still holds today.

Uranus: The Planet on a Very Tilted Axis

Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun and sits on an axial plane tilted at a jaw-dropping 97.7-degree angle. And yes, Uranus does actually stink.

New Kaleidoscopic Map Details the Geology of the Moon 

The moon has seen a lot in its 4.5 million years of life, and a detailed new geologic map serves as testament.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower Is Back — Here's What You Need to Know

Every April, the Lyrid meteor shower fills the sky with shooting stars. Here's how to see them.

Saturn: Giant Rings and a Moon Full of Space Lakes

Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest planet in the solar system. It has an amazing ring system and 82 moons! And did we mention that it's an oblong world that appears squished looking?

New Solar Orbiter Will Get the First Glimpse of the Sun's Poles

NASA and the European Space Agency's new Solar Orbiter will travel as close as 26 million miles to the sun to get the first glimpses of its north and south poles.

Neptune: An Ice Giant With Supersonic Winds

Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun, and one of the coldest. It also has supersonic winds that are the fastest in the solar system.

Leonid Meteor Shower: What You Need to Know

The annual Leonid meteor shower is back, and peaks in the early-morning hours of November 18. It's made up of tiny bits of debris from the comet Tempel-Tuttle. Here's how to see it.

The Orionid Meteor Shower Is Back — Here's What You Need to Know

Every autumn, Earth passes through a stream of debris left by Halley's comet, resulting in nighttime meteor showers in mid-October. Best time this year is Oct. 21-22.

Venus: Earth's Blazing-hot and Bizarre Twin

The atmospheric pressure is crushingly extreme on Venus, and lead would melt into a puddle on its surface. But as hellish as this place sounds, it actually has a lot in common with Earth.

Jupiter: Anatomy of a Gas Giant

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. Big as it is though, next to the sun, Jupiter looks puny.

Is Planet Nine Actually a Primordial Black Hole?

As the search for Planet Nine wears on, and astronomers have yet to get so much as a glimpse of it, researchers are pondering what else the object might be.

Confirmed: Comet Borisov Is Another Interstellar Visitor

The galaxy has sent another tumbling chunk of frozen interstellar material our way.

It's Only a Rolling Rock on Mars (But I Like It)

NASA just named a rolling rock on Mars after — who else — the Rolling Stones.

Ploonets: When Moons Become Planets

Did you know that a moon can leave its orbit around a large planet and go out on its own?

Rare Asteroid Discovered With Fastest Orbit Around the Sun

Researchers at the Zwicky Transient Facility have found an asteroid in Earth's orbit. And this one has the shortest year yet.

Why Does Jupiter Have 79 Moons When Earth Just Has One?

Scientists recently found 12 more moons revolving around Jupiter, bringing its total to 79. Why does Jupiter have so many darn moons? Is there any advantage to that?

Why Are Planets Almost Spherical?

Why not cylindrical? Or even cube-shaped?

Worm, Strawberry, Blue: Every Full Moon Has a Name

Everyone's heard of the blue moon and the harvest moon, but did you know every full moon of the year has a name? What are the names and when do the moons occur?

Want to Find Past Life on Mars? Dive Deep Into Earth First

The mysterious microbes living more than half a mile beneath the deepest ocean floors could have something to teach us about Martian life.

The Truth Behind the Rogue Planet Nibiru

The idea of planet Nibiru has captivated doomsday prophets and conspiracy theorists for decades, but nobody has proven its existence. What's the deal?

NASA's InSight Mission Detects Its First Marsquake

The wait is over. NASA confirms Mars is seismically active.

The Superb Moon Quiz

In the darkness of space, we’re comforted by our moon, the circular inspirer of song lyrics, poetry, and wannabe astronauts. But what do you really know about the moon and its history? Take this quiz to find out.

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