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Articles on Planets

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With the proper equipment, you can enjoy the beauty of the night sky. Allexxandar via iStock/GettyImages

5 ways families can enjoy astronomy during the pandemic

COVID-19 may have messed up school and shut down a lot of entertainment venues. But you can still brighten things up by doing a little stargazing at night, an astronomer says.
Unlike Earth’s atmosphere, Jupiter’s ‘sky’ hosts magnificent shades of orange, white, brown and blue. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt

Curious Kids: is the sky blue on other planets?

Atmospheres can be all different colours, depending on what's in them.
Saturn is one of a few planets in our solar system surrounded by rings. Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock/Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Curious Kids: why are some planets surrounded by rings?

We're not sure how the rings work or how they formed, but there are a few theories.
A planet-forming disk made from rock and gas surrounds a young star. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/ Gerald Eichstädt /Seán Doran

Even planets have their (size) limits

Why isn't there an endless variety of planets in the universe? An astrophysicist explains why planets only come in two flavors.
On June 5-6, 2012, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory collected images of one of the rarest predictable solar events: the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun. NASA/SDO, AIA

Why we need to get back to Venus

This hot, acidic neighbor with its surface veiled in thick clouds hasn't benefited from the attention showered on Mars and the Moon. But Venus may offer insights into the fate of the Earth.
When it was young, the Sun spun fast – very fast. It would do one rotation in a just one or two Earth days.

Curious Kids: does the Sun spin as well as the planets?

Yes, the Sun absolutely spins. In fact, everything in the universe spins. Some things spin faster than the Sun, some are slower and some things spin 'backwards'.
Searching for planets around nearby stars is like searching for a needle in a field of haystacks. Trevor Dobson/Flikr

How we found a white dwarf – a stellar corpse – by accident

Science is full of surprises. While searching for planets orbiting nearby stars, researchers stumbled across the remains of a star that once outshone the Sun.
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.

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.

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