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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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.

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.

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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

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

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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

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.

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It dashed through our solar system like a cigar-shaped signal from another star system. But which one? Astronomers are on the case.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

Jupiter has been notoriously bad about revealing any water deep in its thick atmosphere. That's changing though.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

Comet 21P and comet 46P will swing past our planet during the month of September — and you won't need a telescope to see either.

By Mark Mancini

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But don't buy your lakefront property just yet.

By Patrick J. Kiger

It's the second lunar eclipse of 2018, but it will last longer than any other during the 21st century.

By Mark Mancini

Mars Close Approach is July 31, 2018. That is the point in Mars' orbit when it is nearest to Earth.

By Laurie L. Dove

The days are getting longer, but don't worry about changing your clocks.

By Chris Opfer

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To define the location of objects in the sky, astronomers utilize a system of celestial coordinates, which extends latitude and longitude from Earth's surface into space.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Once upon a time, the sun caught an interstellar orphan and adopted it as its own. It's named 2015 BZ 509.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

Some scientists think the existence of plate tectonics could be a prerequisite for life. So do they exist on other planets outside of Earth?

By Mark Mancini

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Astronomers have just discovered a gas in Uranus' clouds that does nothing to help the planet being taken seriously.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

It's been a while since the sun has hung out with its brothers and sisters in the same stellar nursery, but they're definitely out there, and citizen scientists can help find them.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.