Articles on Planets

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Nobody knows for sure - but it’s possible. Shutterstock

Curious Kids: Are there living things on different galaxies?

There are probably more than a million planets in the universe for every single grain of sand on Earth. That's a lot of planets. My guess is that there probably is life elsewhere in the Universe.
The Sun is a star – but it’s not the only one. NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Curious Kids: Is there anything hotter than the Sun?

There are lots of places where it's much, much hotter than the Sun. And the amazing thing is that this heat also makes new atoms - tiny particles that have made their way long ago from stars to us.
Pluto’s ghoulish cousin, 2015 TG387, lurks in the distant reaches of our own Solar System. Illustration by Roberto Molar Candanosa and Scott Sheppard, courtesy of Carnegie Institution for Science.

A Goblin could guide us to a mystery planet thought to exist in the Solar system

Whether you call it Planet X or Planet Nine, talk of another planet lurking in our Solar system won't go away. So what does the discovery of a new object – nicknamed "The Goblin" – add to the debate?
Pluto in enhanced color, to illustrate differences in the composition and texture of its surface. NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute

I’ve Always Wondered: How do we know what lies at the heart of Pluto?

Pluto has a density between that of rock and ice – so that immediately suggests the dwarf planet is made of a mix of both. But how do we know?
The other galaxies are there, but they are hiding a very long way away. www.shutterstock.com

Curious Kids: Where are all the other galaxies hidden?

We are in the Milky Way. If you travelled on an extremely fast spaceship for more than two million years, you would reach our neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy. All other galaxies are even further away.
The Blood Moon from January 31, 2018. Our second chance to see an eclipsed Moon this year is coming up on July 28. Martin George

It’s a busy night sky this July, so make sure you look up

All five five planets visible to the naked-eye are on show in the night skies over Australia, and a Blood Moon on the way too.
Imagined view from Kepler-10b, a planet that orbits one of the 150,000 stars that the Kepler spacecraft is monitoring. NASA/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry

Goodbye Kepler, hello TESS: Passing the baton in the search for distant planets

When NASA first started planning the Kepler mission, no one knew if the universe held any planets outside our solar system. Thousands of exoplanets later, the search enters a new phase as Kepler retires.
The mass of the Earth is big enough that the gravitational force it creates can pull the hard shape of ice, rock and metal into a sphere. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Curious Kids: Why is the Earth round?

Imagine the Earth pulling everything it is made up of, all of its mass, towards its centre. This happens evenly all over the Earth, causing it to take on a round shape.
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.

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