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.


The term "blue moon" dates back to at least the 16th century. Since then, it's had several different definitions, many of which are contradictory. So what's a blue moon today?

It all started with the suspicious behavior of a single star.

All those intrepid colonists are going to need a plentiful supply of water, and it turns out that accessing one may not be as hard as we thought.

The apparently random flashes in the sky known as FRBs have resisted being pinned down by astronomers. Until now.

2018 should be a glorious year to turn your gaze skyward. Here's what to watch for.

It wasn't quite as loud as you might imagine.

The moon won't look blue though; it will likely look red.

When our planet was young, it took a beating from an unrelenting storm of planetesimals falling from the skies. Some of that debris meant more gold for the planet.

How galaxies get their shapes and evolve is widely debated.

The annual Leonid meteor shower is back, and peaks the in the early-morning hours of November 17 and 18. It's made up of tiny bits of debris from the comet Tempel-Tuttle.

Why not cylindrical? Or even cube-shaped?

Things are getting a little more interesting out in Pluto's neighborhood.

Every autumn, Earth passes through a stream of debris left by Halley's Comet, resulting in nighttime meteor showers in mid-October.

Drop your keys and grab your skis. There's fresh Martian powder out there, as new NASA photos reveal in stunning detail.

On Friday, Sept. 1, a large asteroid named Florence will zip by at a distance of about 4.4 million miles (7 million kilometers) — a tiny distance relative to the entirety of the universe.

You probably have several pairs of eclipse glasses left over from the big total solar eclipse. Don't trash them — recycle, reuse or donate them instead.

The first total solar eclipse to cross the United States in almost 100 years leaves the country mesmerized.

After all, it's not just the light that changes when the moon passes in front of the sun.

And don't worry. Even if NASA misses, we'll be fine.

Small towns in Idaho, Nebraska and Illinois are trying to figure out how to handle an unknown number of eclipse-trippers. Estimates range from 40,000 to 80,000 visitors.

All of a sudden that longed-for moon base doesn't seem quite so far-fetched.

Check out this video of what astronauts in space see as the shadow of the moon crosses our planet.

The total solar eclipse will be visible across North America on Aug. 21. Here's some information on how to view it safely, and what scientists may learn from it.