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Planets

Calling for a Debate Over Pluto's Nature

David J. Eicher | Posted 07.23.2014 | Science
David J. Eicher

In 2006 the IAU "demoted" Pluto to dwarf-planet status, setting off an outcry of public disappointment, first among schoolchildren but later among all classes of astronomy enthusiasts, and even planetary scientists, who disagree with the IAU's logic.

Ancient 'Hit And Run' May Explain Mercury Mystery

Space.com | Jesse Emspak | Posted 07.07.2014 | Science

The mysterious makeup of the solar system's innermost planet may be due to a massive "hit and run" collision billions of years ago, a new study repo...

MYSTERY: Why Haven't Humans Discovered Intelligent Life?

waitbutwhy.com | Posted 07.05.2014 | Science

We have no answer to the Fermi Paradox—the best we can do is “possible explanations.” And if you ask ten different scientists what their hunch i...

This 'Goldilocks' Planet May Not Even Exist

AP | Posted 07.05.2014 | Science

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study says a planet outside our solar system thought to be in the so-called Goldilocks zone is not even a real planet, but a...

Richard Dawkins and the Mating Dance of Planets

Amir Aczel | Posted 06.24.2014 | Science
Amir Aczel

At an international conference in Mexico a few years ago, Richard Dawkins, having expounded at length on how sexual natural selection explains life on Earth without any need for a "creator," went on to say, "And I am sure that something like the principle of natural selection operates in the physical universe as well." Sounds totally silly? Well, there's more to it: a huge irony.

Alien Hunters Get Powerful New Tool

Space.com | Megan Gannon | Posted 06.17.2014 | Science

Astronomers now have a powerful new tool to sniff out methane on alien planets. The organic molecule, considered one of the building blocks of life, ...

Planets Can Be Positively Perplexing

Greg Schwem | Posted 06.02.2014 | Science
Greg Schwem

I still remember the mnemonic as if it were 1972 and I was sitting in fourth grade science class. My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.

LOOK: Will Your Grandkids Be Living On One Of These Planets?

Posted 04.02.2014 | Science

Colonize Mars? Meh. While some space enthusiasts are vying for a chance to create a human colony on the Red Planet, others say exoplanets like "Kepler...

Is 'Flat' The Future Of Planetary Exploration?

Space.com | Mike Wall | Posted 03.27.2014 | Science

Future space missions may send dozens of rug-like robots fluttering down to the surface of alien worlds, taking much of the risk out of planetary ex...

Were Scientists Wrong About Size Of Smallest Planet?

Reuters | Posted 05.17.2014 | Science

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Detailed maps of Mercury's cliffs and ditches show the solar system's innermost and ...

Yoga and Baseball: 108 Degrees of Harmonic Convergence

Lauren Cahn | Posted 05.11.2014 | Comedy
Lauren Cahn

Spring and baseball. Baseball and Spring. They arrive together just as surely as winter and spring converge at the vernal equinox.

Meat-Eating Humans: Mightier Than Lions, Feebler than Ants

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 05.11.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

It comes down to a pretty basic choice. We can either have a whole lot fewer of us meat-eating Homo sapiens, or we need Homo sapiens to eat a whole lot less meat. The funny thing is, the rate-limiting issue makes the plant vs. animal nutrition debate irrelevant. It's all about water.

Spacecraft Makes Historic Flyby Of Earthlike Moon

Space.com | Megan Gannon | Posted 03.09.2014 | Science

A far-flung NASA space probe flying around Saturn zipped past the ringed planet's biggest moon for the 100th time on Thursday (March 6). The Cassini...

PHOTO: Rover Looks Up, Way Up, At Martian Mountain

Space.com | Mike Wall | Posted 03.02.2014 | Science

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has taken some dazzling new photos of the Red Planet landscape, showing in sharp detail where it's been and the long roa...

WATCH: Northern Lights On Ringed Planet Are Like 'Fireworks'

Space.com | Miriam Kramer | Posted 02.19.2014 | Science

Saturn's auroras dance in a new video that shows the ringed planet's northern and southern lights shining in amazing, 360-degree detail. Scientists...

Tantalizing New Clues Emerge In Search For Martian Water

Space.com | Mike Wall | Posted 02.11.2014 | Science

New clues are emerging about the mysterious streaks that appear on Mars' surface during warm weather, though scientists still can't say for sure that ...

WATCH: Our Planet's Water Came From WHERE!?

The Huffington Post | Posted 02.11.2014 | Science

Where exactly did water on Earth come from? The answer may surprise you. As explained in the latest episode of the Youtube science series MinuteEar...

Strange Wobbly World Spotted By NASA's Planet-Hunting Probe

Space.com | Megan Gannon | Posted 02.06.2014 | Science

Astronomers have discovered an alien planet that wobbles at such a dizzying rate that its seasons must fluctuate wildly. Throughout all of the plane...

Ragged Rover Marks Big Milestone On Red Planet

AP | ALICIA CHANG | Posted 01.24.2014 | Science

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A decade after landing on Mars, the rover Opportunity is still chugging along. Sure, it has some wear and tear. One of its six w...

LOOK: Star's Distant 'Ring' Stuns Astronomers

Space.com | Megan Gannon | Posted 01.25.2014 | Science

Alien planets may be forming inside a giant gas ring located surprisingly far from its young parent star, scientists say. In fact, the planet-formi...

Now Is the Time to See Jupiter!

David J. Eicher | Posted 03.05.2014 | Science
David J. Eicher

Jupiter is at maximum brilliancy, reflecting the greatest amount of sunlight straight back to us, and it's also visible all night, rising at sunset and setting at sunrise.

Saturn's Rings Found To Be MUCH Older Than Some Believed

Space.com | Mike Wall | Posted 01.23.2014 | Science

SAN FRANCISCO — Saturn's iconic rings likely formed about 4.4 billion years ago, shortly after the planet itself took shape, a new study suggests....

LOOK: Year's Top Exoplanet Discoveries Include Some Pretty Freaky Places

Space.com | Mike Wall | Posted 01.25.2014 | Science

While astronomers didn't bag that elusive first "alien Earth" in 2013, they made plenty of exciting exoplanet discoveries during the past year. Here'...

WATCH: Why You Should Skywatch In Winter Despite The Chill

The Huffington Post | Cate Matthews | Posted 02.24.2014 | Science

Freezing temperatures certainly make a strong case for staying inside on winter nights. But a new video from the YouTube channel MinutePhysics offers ...

Star of Bethlehem: Heavenly and Scientific Mystery

Dean Regas | Posted 02.19.2014 | Science
Dean Regas

At this time of year, people often ask for my astronomical/religious opinion: "What was the Star of Bethlehem?" What was this heavenly sign that a savior, that a Messiah, that Jesus was born? Can modern science prove what this object really was?