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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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.

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

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

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.

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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

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

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

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

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.

No worries though. Jupiter, Neptune or Uranus could create their own beautiful, bright ring display in the distant future.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

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Like Earth, the sun does rotate, but in a different way.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Those stars twinkling in the nighttime sky may actually be crystal spheres. And our beloved star is headed in that direction, too. Eventually.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

The China National Space Administration makes history — and shows the world the dark side of the moon.

By Mark Mancini

The image, which was created by the European Space Agency, shows the blazing hot orb's northern-most region for the very first time. Pretty cool stuff.

By Mark Mancini

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After cruising 300 million miles and spending seven months in space, the InSight spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars' surface. How awesome is that?

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

Dark matter is the most mysterious (and possibly important) material in the universe, and scientists are excited that a storm of the stuff is upon us.

By Jesslyn Shields

The idea behind the "fake" moon is to provide extra illumination to Chengdu, a city in China's Sichuan province. What could possibly go wrong?

By Mark Mancini

Can a moon have a moon of its own?

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Back in 2006, the International Astronomical Union decided to demote Pluto to the status of a dwarf planet. A historical study challenges that designation.

By Patrick J. Kiger

It's a small world with an astonishingly long orbit around our sun. And it could lead us to the fabled Planet X.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.