Solar system

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One of the most detailed images of Pluto captured by New Horizons just before it’s closest approach to the dwarf planet. NASA/APL/SwRI

Beyond Pluto: New Horizons' mission is not over yet

Now the flypast of Pluto is over the space probe New Horizons will begin sending the data back to Earth. It will take many months but what will it reveal about the dwarf planet?
New Horizons' look at Pluto’s Charon-facing hemisphere reveals intriguing geologic details that are of keen interest to mission scientists. This image was taken on July 11, 2015, when the spacecraft was 4 million km from Pluto. NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Pluto and its collision-course place in our solar system

The New Horizons spacecraft is only hours away from its closest approach to Pluto. It's hoped the brief encounter will help answer many questions about the oddball member of our solar system.
An artist’s impression: MESSENGER flying over a colourful Mercury. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Mercury’s MESSENGER mission comes to a crashing climax

It was the first probe to find water on Mercury, the planet closest to the sun. Its mission nearly over, MESSENGER is about to crash into the planet it's been observing.
Artist’s impression of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft encountering Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. NASA/Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Let the people decide new place names on Mercury and Pluto

Who gets to name the craters and features on our planets was once an ad hoc affair. But now the public can have a say with just days left to vote.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics image of a supernova explosion discovered by Johannes Kepler in 1604. Flickr/X-ray: NASA/CXC/NCSU/M.Burkey et al; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Our oceans give new insights on elements made in supernovae

Our understanding of heavy element production in supernovae, exploding stars way beyond our solar system, may need to change following some discoveries we have made looking not to the skies, but deep under…
Artist’s impression of New Horizons as it swings past the dwarf planet Pluto, in July 2015. NASA

Rise and shine! New Horizons awakes ahead of a date with Pluto

While the Mars Rovers and the Rosetta spacecraft will continue to make headlines in 2015, the stage is set for the solar system’s next great mission – the Pluto-bound New Horizons. Discovered in 1930…

Catching the planets and new views of Mars

Looking west after sunset on Friday September 26, the thin waxing crescent moon forms a triangle with Mercury and Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. You can see how far Mercury has…
The dawn of a new day. Flickr/Christos Tsoumplekas

Explainer: how does our sun shine?

What makes our sun shine has been a mystery for most of human history. Given our sun is a star and stars are suns, explaining the source of the sun’s energy would help us understand why stars shine. An…

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