Articles on Planets

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Lasers being shone from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. These lasers help remove the twinkles in the night sky and help astronomers see stars clearer on Earth than ever before. F. Kamphues/ESO

Curious Kids: Why do stars twinkle?

How exactly do the stars twinkle in the night sky? As it turns out, the answer is full of hot air... and cold air.
Two spacecraft concepts for the Plato mission. ESA

The PLATO mission: an investigation of planetary systems

While we on Earth are familiar with our own star, the Sun, the European Space Agency's PLATO mission will explore solar systems similar to ours as well as those that are more exotic.
A solar eclipse observed over Grand Canyon National Park in May 2012. Grand Canyon National Park

How eclipses were regarded as omens in the ancient world

More than 2,000 years ago, the Babylonians understood the cycle of eclipses. They also regarded them as signs that could foretell the death of a king.
In the beginning, the Universe expanded very, very fast. Flickr/Jamie

Curious Kids: what started the Big Bang?

What caused the Big Bang is still a mystery. And that's just one of the many unanswered questions, in spite of everything we do know about the birth of the Universe.
This enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s south pole and its swirling atmosphere was created by citizen scientist Roman Tkachenko using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

Juno mission unveils Jupiter’s complex interior, weather and magnetism

We may need to re-think our models of Jupiter’s formation thanks to the first results from Juno probe orbiting the planet, and new observations from Earth.
Saturn and its rings backlit by the sun, which is blocked by the planet in this view. Encircling the planet and inner rings is the much more extended E-ring. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Water, weather, new worlds: Cassini mission revealed Saturn’s secrets

With the probe now on its 'Grand Finale,' a Cassini team member describes the amazing discoveries it made about the ringed planet and its many moons.
Pluto is a dwarf planet but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of our attention. NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Planet or dwarf planet: all worlds are worth investigating

A group of astronomers are trying to reclassify Pluto as full 'planet'. But there are good reasons to leave our classification system alone, and this doesn't mean Pluto is any less interesting.
Right side of the moon. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

How old is our moon?

The moon may be slightly older than previously thought, suggests a new study.
An artists’s impression of how common planets are around the stars in the Milky Way. ESO/M. Kornmesser

Explainer: How to find an exoplanet (part 2)

A look at some of the more obscure methods astronomers use to detect planets around other stars, in the second of a two-part series on finding world's elsewhere in the universe.

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