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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Every autumn, Earth passes through a stream of debris left by Halley's comet, resulting in some beautiful nighttime meteor showers called the Orionids. Here's what to watch for.

By Patrick J. Kiger

It's a celestial gift in the middle of August. Just look up for a spectacular sight.

By Christopher Hassiotis

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

By Patrick J. Kiger

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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.

By Mark Mancini

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

By Jesslyn Shields

Every April, the Lyrid meteor shower fills the sky with shooting stars. Here's how to see them in 2022.

By Mark Mancini

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?

By Mark Mancini

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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.

By Mark Mancini

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.

By Mark Mancini

The Geminid meteor shower is one of the year's stronger displays in terms of number and size of meteors. When's the best time to see it?

By Christopher Hassiotis

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.

By Mark Mancini

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

By Mark Mancini

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.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

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

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

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

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

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

By Patrick J. Kiger

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

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

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?

By Mark Mancini

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Why do planets in the solar system all seem to be round? Why not cylindrical? Or even cube-shaped?

By Mark Mancini

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

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

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

By Mark Mancini

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

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

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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.

By Nathan Chandler

Rovers are getting some practice hunting for microbes here on Earth before they head to Mars in 2020.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.