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Keyword: neptune

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  • Centaurs Keep Their Rings From Greedy Gas Giants

    06/26/2016 10:36:02 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 06/24/2016 | Matt Williams
    Centaurs are a population of objects within our Solar System that behave as both comets and asteroids (hence why they are named after the hybrid beasts of Greek mythology). 10199 Chariklo is the largest known member of the Centaur population, a possible former Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) which currently orbits between Saturn and Uranus. The rings around this asteroid were first noticed in 2013 when the asteroid underwent a stellar occultation. This revealed a system of two rings, with a radius of 391 and 405 km and widths of about 7 km 3 km, respectively. The absorption features of the rings...
  • Neptune Sports Dark Vortex, Hubble Images Reveal

    06/24/2016 10:19:46 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    space.com ^ | 06/24/2016 | Nola Taylor Redd
    Neptune is sporting a new spot, the first one identified in the 21st century. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope confirmed the existence of the high-pressure system known as a dark vortex after bright clouds hinted at its presence. "Dark vortices coast through the atmosphere like huge, lens-shaped gaseous mountains," research astronomer Mike Wong, of the University of California at Berkeley, said in a statement. Wong led the team that analyzed the Hubble data. "And the companion clouds are similar to so-called organic clouds that appear as pancake-shaped features lingering over mountains on Earth," he added Both professional and amateur astronomers started...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Cirrus over Paris

    06/22/2016 4:45:04 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 22, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's that over Paris? Cirrus. Typically, cirrus clouds appear white or gray when reflecting sunlight, can appear dark at sunset (or sunrise) against a better lit sky. Cirrus are among the highest types of clouds and are usually thin enough to see stars through. Cirrus clouds may form from moisture released above storm clouds and so may herald the arrival of a significant change in weather. Conversely, cirrus clouds have also been seen on Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, Uranus, and Neptune. The featured image was taken two days ago from a window in District 15, Paris, France, Earth. The...
  • New Horizons sets sights on its next target, a mysterious object at solar system's edge

    05/06/2016 6:37:23 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    Known as 2014 MU69, the object is thought to be unchanged since the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.... ... Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel submitted plans last month to NASA to fly past the relatively tiny chunk of icy matter on New Year's Day 2019. If NASA approves it, the extended New Horizon mission could give a close-up view of what has so far only appeared to scientists as a faint dot of light. ... The object is in a 300-year orbit around the sun in the Kuiper Belt, a region of space beyond...
  • Planet Nine's profile fleshed out

    04/09/2016 7:29:13 PM PDT · by JimSEA · 52 replies
    BBC ^ | 4/8/2916 | Paul Rincon
    In January, researchers at Caltech in the US suggested a large, additional planet might be lurking in the icy outer reaches of the Solar System. Now, a team at the University of Bern in Switzerland has worked out what they say are upper and lower limits on how big, bright and cold it might be. The study has been accepted by the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. Prof Mike Brown and Dr Konstantin Batygin made their case for the existence of a ninth planet in our Solar System orbiting far beyond even the dwarf world Pluto. There are no direct observations...
  • Earth-Smashing Space Rocks Undercounted

    12/23/2015 10:12:19 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 16 replies
    discovery.com ^ | 12/22/2015 | Mariette Le Roux, AFP
    Most studies of potential Earth-smashers focus on objects in the asteroid belt roughly between Mars, Earth's outside neighbour, and Jupiter on its other flank, said the researchers. But they noted that the discovery in the last two decades of hundreds of giant comets dubbed centaurs, albeit with much larger orbits, requires expanding the list of potential hazards. These balls of ice and dust, typically 50-100 kilometres (31-62 miles) wide, have unstable, elliptical orbits that start way beyond Neptune, the most distant planet from the Sun. Their paths cross those of the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, whose gravity...
  • Did Jupiter Bumped The Giant Planet From Our Solar System?

    11/02/2015 7:03:39 PM PST · by Beowulf9 · 65 replies
    http://www.starminenews.com ^ | NOV 1, 2015 | PTI
    Toronto– A close encounter with Jupiter about four billion years ago may have resulted in another planet’s ejection from the solar system altogether, scientists have found. The existence of a fifth giant gas planet at the time of the solar system’s formation — in addition to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune that we know of today — was first proposed in 2011, researchers said.
  • Why Earth is so much bigger than Mars: Rocky planets formed from 'pebbles'

    10/27/2015 11:47:58 AM PDT · by JimSEA · 9 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 10/27/2015 | Southwest Research Institute
    Using a new process in planetary formation modeling, where planets grow from tiny bodies called "pebbles," Southwest Research Institute scientists can explain why Mars is so much smaller than Earth. This same process also explains the rapid formation of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, as reported earlier this year. "This numerical simulation actually reproduces the structure of the inner solar system, with Earth, Venus, and a smaller Mars," said Hal Levison, an Institute scientist at the SwRI Planetary Science Directorate. He is the first author of a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...
  • We're going on a planet hunt

    04/05/2006 7:53:38 PM PDT · by KevinDavis · 38 replies · 814+ views
    EurekAlert ^ | 04/05/06 | Claire Bowles
    A FIFTH terrestrial planet may once have orbited between Mars and Jupiter. Although gravitational disturbances would have sent the planet hurtling into the sun or out into space long ago, traces of this long-gone world may still be visible in part of the asteroid belt today. Recent simulations have suggested that the gas giants of our solar system formed with circular orbits but moved into their more elongated paths about 4 billion years ago 700 million years after the solar system formed. While the gas giants were in circular orbits, rocky planets should have formed in stable orbits out...
  • Death Spiral: Why Theorists Can't Make Solar Systems

    03/29/2006 10:21:37 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies · 464+ views
    SPACE.com ^ | Tue March 28, 2006 | Ker Than
    For scientists who spend time thinking about how planets form, life would be simpler if gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn didnt exist. According to the standard model of planet formation, called "core accretion," planets form over millions of years as enormous blocks of rock and ice smash together to form planetary embryos, called "protoplanets," and eventually full-fledged planets. Most scientists agree that core accretion is how terrestrial planets such as Earth and Mars were created, but the model cant convincingly explain how gas giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn came to be. One major problem is that developing gas...
  • Giant Stealth Planet May Explain Rain of Comets from Solar System's Edge

    12/04/2010 7:32:45 PM PST · by The Magical Mischief Tour · 82 replies
    Space.com ^ | 12/01/2010 | Space.com
    Our sun may have a companion that disturbs comets from the edge of the solar system a giant planet with up to four times the mass of Jupiter, researchers suggest. A NASA space telescope launched last year may soon detect such a stealth companion to our sun, if it actually exists, in the distant icy realm of the comet-birthing Oort cloud, which surrounds our solar system with billions of icy objects. The potential jumbo Jupiter would likely be a world so frigid it is difficult to spot, researchers said. It could be found up to 30,000 astronomical units from...
  • Suicidal planet seems on death spiral into star

    08/27/2009 8:45:48 AM PDT · by VRWCmember · 20 replies · 848+ views
    Yahoo News ^ | 08/27/2009 | SETH BORENSTEIN
    WASHINGTON Astronomers have found what appears to be a gigantic suicidal planet. The odd, fiery planet is so close to its star and so large that it is triggering tremendous plasma tides on the star. Those powerful tides are in turn warping the planet's zippy less-than-a-day orbit around its star. The result: an ever-closer tango of death, with the planet eventually spiraling into the star.
  • Hot Jupiters do not rule out alien Earths

    03/31/2006 5:21:28 PM PST · by KevinDavis · 10 replies · 629+ views
    New Scientist Space ^ | 03/31/06 | Maggie McKee
    Habitable, Earth-like planets can form even after giant planets have barrelled through their birthplace on epic migrations towards their host stars, new computer simulations suggest. The finding contradicts early ideas of how planets behave and suggests future space missions should search for terrestrial planets near known "hot Jupiters". Many of the 160 or so known extrasolar planets are hot Jupiters - massive planets that are closer to their stars than Mercury is to our Sun. But the planets probably did not form in these scorching regions because there would not have been enough gas and dust there to amass such...
  • Ocean Planets on the Brink of Detection

    02/03/2007 2:01:40 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies · 149+ views
    PhysOrg ^ | February 2, 2007 | Ben Mathiesen
    Early in our own solar system's history, the largest of these planetary embryos acquired a dense envelope of hydrogen and helium and transformed into the gas giants we know today... Planets that form far from their parent star are expected to have a composition similar to comets (50% rock, 50% water by weight). Once a planet exceeds about ten Earth masses it has enough gravity to attract any hydrogen and helium near its orbit, and will rapidly transform into a gas giant... [A planet] in this region that never exceed the threshold... becomes an "ocean planet", a term coined by...
  • Two more planets in our Solar System, say astronomers

    01/20/2015 8:54:04 AM PST · by Red Badger · 51 replies
    www.businessinsider.com ^ | Jan. 19, 2015, 8:40 AM | Richard INGHAM, AFP
    Paris (AFP) - The Solar System has at least two more planets waiting to be discovered beyond the orbit of Pluto, Spanish and British astronomers say. The official list of planets in our star system runs to eight, with gas giant Neptune the outermost. Beyond Neptune, Pluto was relegated to the status of "dwarf planet" by the International Astronomical Union in 2006, although it is still championed by some as the most distant planet from the Sun. In a study published in the latest issue of the British journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers propose that "at...
  • The Moons of Neptune

    09/09/2015 2:18:40 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | September 8, 2015 | Matt Williams
    Neptunes moons are ...all are named for gods of the sea, or for the children of Poseidon (which include Triton, Proteus, Depsina and Thalassa), minor Greek water dieties (Naiad and Nereid) or Nereids , the water nymphs in Greek mythology (Halimede, Galatea, Neso, Sao, Laomedeia and Psamathe). Neptunes Regular Moons are those located closest to the planet and which follow circular prograde orbits that lie in the planets equatorial plane. They are, in order of distance from Neptune: Naiad , Thalassa , Despina, Galatea, Larissa , S/2004 N 1, and Proteus. All but the outer two are within Neptune-synchronous orbit......
  • Stealing Sedna

    08/06/2015 11:25:26 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    Universe Today ^ | David Dickinson
    From the start, Sedna was an odd-ball. Its 11,400 year orbit takes it from a perihelion of 76 astronomical units (for context, Neptune is an average of 30 AUs from the Sun) to an amazing 936 AUs from the Sun. (A thousand AUs is 1.6% of a light year, and 0.4% of the way to Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our solar system). Currently at a distance of 86 AU and headed towards perihelion in 2076, were lucky we caught Sedna as it neared (we use the term near loosely in this case!) the Sun. But this strange path...
  • Neptunes Moon of Triton

    07/28/2015 11:52:43 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | July 28, 2015 | Fraser Cain
    The planets of the outer Solar System are known for being strange, as are their many moons. This is especially true of Triton, Neptunes largest moon. In addition to being the seventh-largest moon in the Solar System, it is also the only major moon that has a retrograde orbit i.e. it revolves in the direction opposite to the planets rotation. This suggests that Triton did not form in orbit around Neptune, but is a cosmic visitor that passed by one day and decided to stay. ... Triton has a radius, density (2.061 g/cm3), temperature and chemical composition similar to...
  • Neptune cop charged with shooting, killing ex-wife in front of daughter

    06/18/2015 5:46:44 PM PDT · by Altariel · 59 replies
    NJ.com ^ | June 16, 2015 | Mary Ann Spotto
    ASBURY PARK Fueled by a child custody dispute, a recently divorced Neptune Township police officer shot and killed his former wife in broad daylight on Tuesday in front of their daughter on an Asbury Park street, authorities said. *** While taking him into custody, some of the officers hugged him and patted him comfortingly on the back, the witness said.
  • We're Pumped Up About Visiting Pluto After Seeing This NASA Video

    06/13/2015 7:28:00 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 29 replies
    Popular Science TV ^ | June 12th, 2015 | Sarah Fecht
    In July, New Horizons crosses the next great frontier in our solar system. Mankind is about to visit one of the strangest places in our solar system. Out beyond Neptune, the Kuiper belt is home to hordes of cold, lumpy worlds -- some of which are large enough to have their own moons, but none of which we've seen up-close before. That's going to change this summer, when NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flies by "the king of the Kuiper belt": Pluto. It's no longer considered a planet, but Pluto is still an important member of our solar system, and one...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Two Hours Before Neptune

    02/15/2015 10:21:38 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | February 15, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Two hours before closest approach to Neptune in 1989, the Voyager 2 robot spacecraft snapped this picture. Clearly visible for the first time were long light-colored cirrus-type clouds floating high in Neptune's atmosphere. Shadows of these clouds can even be seen on lower cloud decks. Most of Neptune's atmosphere is made of hydrogen and helium, which is invisible. Neptune's blue color therefore comes from smaller amounts of atmospheric methane, which preferentially absorbs red light. Neptune has the fastest winds in the Solar System, with gusts reaching 2000 kilometers per hour. Speculation holds that diamonds may be created in the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Solar System Portrait

    02/14/2015 5:10:04 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | February 14, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On another Valentine's Day 25 years ago, cruising four billion miles from the Sun, the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back one last time to make this first ever Solar System family portrait. The complete portrait is a 60 frame mosaic made from a vantage point 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane. In it, Voyager's wide angle camera frames sweep through the inner Solar System at the left, linking up with gas giant Neptune, the Solar System's outermost planet, at the far right. Positions for Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are indicated by letters, while the Sun is...
  • The Dark Energy Survey Begins to Reveal Previously Unknown Trans-Neptunian Objects

    01/07/2015 7:35:37 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on January 7, 2015 | Tim Reyes
    While asteroids residing in the inner solar system will pass quickly through such small fields, trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) orbit the Sun much more slowly. For example, Pluto, at an approximate distance of 40 A.U. from the Sun, along with the object Eris, presently the largest of the TNOs, has an apparent motion of about 27 arc seconds per day although for a half year, the Earths orbital motion slows and retrogrades Plutos apparent motion. The 27 arc seconds is approximately 1/60th the width of a full Moon. So, from one night to the next, TNOs can travel as much...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Flying Past Neptune's Moon Triton

    08/28/2014 6:55:04 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | August 26, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would it look like to fly past Triton, the largest moon of planet Neptune? Only one spacecraft has ever done this -- and now, for the first time, images of this dramatic encounter have been gathered into a movie. On 1989 August 25, the Voyager 2 spacecraft shot through the Neptune system with cameras blazing. Triton is slightly smaller than Earth's Moon but has ice volcanoes and a surface rich in frozen nitrogen. The first sequence in the video shows Voyager's approach to Triton, which, despite its unusual green tint, appears in approximately true color. The mysterious terrain...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Voyager's Neptune

    05/15/2014 9:34:26 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | May 15, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Cruising through the outer solar system, the Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Neptune on August 25, 1989, the only spacecraft to visit the most distant gas giant. Based on the images recorded during its close encounter and in the following days, this inspired composited scene covers the dim outer planet, largest moon Triton, and faint system of rings. From just beyond Neptune's orbit, the interplanetary perspective looks back toward the Sun, capturing the planet and Triton as thin sunlit crescents. Cirrus clouds and a dark band circle Neptune's south polar region, with a cloudy vortex above...
  • NASA's WISE Colors in Unknowns on Jupiter Asteroids

    10/16/2012 9:32:49 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    "We're NASA and we know it!" ^ | October 15, 2012 | Whitney Clavin
    Scientists using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, have uncovered new clues in the ongoing mystery of the Jovian Trojans -- asteroids that orbit the sun on the same path as Jupiter. Like racehorses, the asteroids travel in packs, with one group leading the way in front of the gas giant, and a second group trailing behind. The observations are the first to get a detailed look at the Trojans' colors: both the leading and trailing packs are made up of predominantly dark, reddish rocks with a matte, non-reflecting surface. What's more, the data verify the previous...
  • Three New "Plutos"? Possible Dwarf Planets Found

    08/16/2011 12:47:34 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 21 replies
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com ^ | Published August 11, 2011 | Rachel Kaufman
    Small objects could be rounded worlds, based on likely sizes, experts say. Three relatively bright space rocks recently found in Pluto's neighborhood may be new members of the dwarf planet family, astronomers say. The objects were discovered in a little studied section of the Kuiper belt, a region of the solar system that starts beyond the orbit of Neptune and extends 5.1 billion miles (8.2 billion kilometers) from the sun. Astronomer Scott Sheppard, of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, and colleagues found the bodies using the 1.3-meter Warsaw University Telescope at Las Campanas in Chile. The region of the Kuiper...
  • An Unknown Planet Orbits in the Outer Solar System

    08/05/2007 6:22:36 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 58 replies · 1,200+ views
    A theory is hereby proposed that an unknown mega-massive planet has, for billions of years, been orbiting at 77.2 AU from the sun -- within a 44 AU-wide, virtually empty Great Void that surrounds the Kuiper Belt (One AU = 93 million miles, the mean Earth-Sun distance). The Void is postulated to have been formed by strong gravitational attraction of the unknown planet having removed all CKBOs (Classical Kuiper Belt Objects) that had existed previously in the vicinity of the massive planet's huge orbit... The 77.2 AU distance from the sun of the proposed unknown planet is derived from a...
  • On the Fringe: Astronomers look to the Kuiper belt for clues to the solar system's history

    01/14/2010 3:15:11 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies · 732+ views
    Science News ^ | January 16th, 2010 | Ron Cowen
    Beyond Neptune lies a reservoir of... icy debris left to roam the solar system's dim outer limits having never coalesced into planets... Named for astronomer Gerard Kuiper, who in 1951 predicted the existence of this 3-billion-kilometer-wide swath of icy chunks, the Kuiper belt didn't begin to reveal itself to observers until 1992. Since then, researchers have found more than a thousand bodies filling a doughnut-shaped belt, which extends 30 to about 50 astronomical units from the sun. One astronomical unit is the average distance between the Earth and sun... The puffed-up, elongated orbits and present-day sparseness of the belt all...
  • Asteroid Belt Loaded with Former Comets

    07/16/2009 7:32:16 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies · 1,536+ views
    Discovery ^ | Thursday, July 16, 2009 | AFP
    Many of the primitive bodies wandering the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter are former comets, tossed out of orbit by a brutal ballet between the giant outer planets, said a team of astrophysicists. A commonly accepted theory is that the asteroid belt is the rubble left over from a "proto-planetary disk," the dense ring of gas that surrounds a new-born star. But the orbiting rocks have long been a source of deep curiosity. They are remarkably varied, ranging from mixtures of ice and rock to igneous rocks, which implies they have jumbled origins. The answer to the mystery, according...
  • Solving Solar System Quandaries Is Simple: Just Flip-flop The Position Of Uranus And Neptune

    12/30/2007 5:44:15 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies · 96+ views
    Science Daily ^ | Thursday, December 13, 2007 | adapted from Arizona State University materials
    ...the planets weren't always in the order they are today. Four billion years ago, early in the solar system's evolution, Uranus and Neptune switched places. This is the result of recent work by Steve Desch, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. The work appears in this week's Astrophysical Journal. Desch based his conclusion on his calculations of the surface density of the solar nebula. The solar nebula is the disk of gas and dust out of which all of the planets formed. The surface density -- or mass per area -- of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Despina, Moon of Neptune

    01/15/2014 9:11:31 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | January 16, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Despina is a tiny moon of Neptune. A mere 148 kilometers across, diminutive Despina was discovered in 1989, in images from the Voyager 2 spacecraft taken during its encounter with the solar system's most distant gas giant planet. But looking through the Voyager 2 data 20 years later, amateur image processor and philosophy professor Ted Stryk discovered something no one had recognized before -- images that show the shadow of Despina in transit across Neptune's blue cloud tops. His composite view of Despina and its shadow is composed of four archival frames taken on August 24, 1989, separated by...
  • The Obama Legacy in Planetary Exploration

    01/06/2014 9:19:21 AM PST · by Farnsworth · 28 replies
    Space.com ^ | January 04, 2014 | Mark V. Sykes
    It is frustrating, at a time when other nations are in ascendancy in space, that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama seems committed to undermining the nation's own solar system exploration program. The Obama administration cut NASA's planetary-sciences budget by 20 percent in 2013. It has taken the National Research Council's (NRC) recommendations for prioritizing planetary investments in bad economic times and turned those recommendations upside down. The administration continues to favor large, directed projects at the expense of programs and missions that are openly competed.
  • Enigma of Uranus solved at last

    03/10/2004 10:47:40 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 41 replies · 788+ views
    Yahoo! News ^ | 3/10/04 | AFP - Paris
    PARIS (AFP) - Uranus has puzzled scientists ever since the probe Voyager 2 did a flyby in 1986 and found that its magnetic field appeared to break the planetary rulebook. The evidence from Earth, Jupiter and Saturn determined that a planet's magnetic field should be like that of a bar magnet, with a north and south pole that runs roughly along the sphere's rotational axis. But Uranus -- and Neptune, too, Voyager found -- are radically different. Their magnetic fields are tipped over (the north-to-south line lies midway to the equator or even closer) and there are two north and...
  • Neptune may have eaten a planet and stolen its moon

    04/03/2010 9:16:58 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 25 replies · 771+ views
    New Scientist ^ | March 22, 2010 | David Shiga
    Neptune's own existence was a puzzle until recently. The dusty cloud that gave birth to the planets probably thinned out further from the sun. With building material so scarce, it is hard to understand how Uranus and Neptune, the two outermost planets, managed to get so big. But what if they formed closer in? In 2005, a team of scientists proposed that the giant planets shifted positions in an early upheaval (New Scientist, 25 November 2006, p 40). In this scenario, Uranus and Neptune formed much closer to the sun and migrated outwards, possibly swapping places in the process. That...
  • Evening Lectures on Migrating Planets, Hazardous Asteroids Search

    09/19/2009 8:05:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies · 379+ views
    University of Arizona ^ | September 4, 2009 | University Communications
    The University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is launching its Fall 2009 Evening Lecture Series with talks on wandering solar system planets and searches for hazardous asteroids from Mount Lemmon... Planetary sciences professor Renu Malhotra will speak on "Migrating Planets" on Tuesday, Sept. 15. [whoops] Did the solar system always look the way it is now? New studies by Malhotra and others find that the outer planets -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune -- were more tightly clustered in the early solar system, then moved away from each other. Malhotra's models show that as the solar system evolved, Jupiter...
  • New tiny moon found orbiting faraway Neptune

    07/15/2013 1:16:22 PM PDT · by Olog-hai · 27 replies
    Associated Press ^ | Jul 15, 2013 4:08 PM EDT | Marcia Dunn
    Chalk up one more moon for Neptune. NASA announced the discovery of Neptunes 14th moon Monday. The Hubble Space Telescope captured the moon as a white dot in photos of Neptune on the outskirts of our solar system. The new moonNeptunes tiniest at just 12 miles acrossis designated S/2004 N 1.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Crescent Neptune and Triton

    04/14/2013 7:57:47 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 28 replies
    NASA ^ | April 14, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Gliding silently through the outer Solar System, the Voyager 2 spacecraft camera captured Neptune and Triton together in crescent phase in 1989. The elegant picture of the gas giant planet and its cloudy moon was taken from behind just after closest approach. It could not have been taken from Earth because Neptune never shows a crescent phase to sunward Earth. The unusual vantage point also robs Neptune of its familiar blue hue, as sunlight seen from here is scattered forward, and so is reddened like the setting Sun. Neptune is smaller but more massive than Uranus, has several dark...
  • Migrating planets caused meteor storm

    03/26/2013 3:29:15 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 21 replies
    Migrating planets caused meteor stormMonday, 25 March 2013 Stuart GaryABC New research supports the theory of planetary migration sparking a massive meteor storm that rocked the inner solar system 3.9 billion years ago(Source: NASA) Related Stories Moon map reveals deeply fractured crust, Science Online, 06 Dec 2012Vesta a baby planet, not an asteroid, Science Online, 11 May 2012 Meteor storm Migration of giant gas planets such as Jupiter created the biggest meteor storm in our solar system's history, according to a new study. The research in the journal Nature Geoscience paints the clearest picture yet of the causes of the...
  • Sounds of the sea: Listening online to the ocean floor (US Navy not happy)

    01/17/2012 8:20:34 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 11 replies
    BBC ^ | Rhitu Chatterjee and Rob Hugh-Jones
    Satellite photos used to be for military eyes only, but Google Earth changed all that. Now something similar is happening to the ocean depths, with any web user able to listen in and "surf the sea floor" - and the US Navy is not happy."The cable is going underneath here," says Benoit Pirenne, standing at the water's edge on Canada's Vancouver Island. "It's going out 500 miles (800km) in a big loop in the ocean, coming back in the same place." The Vancouver cable connects a network of scientific instruments on the floor of the north Pacific, some as deep...
  • Giant planet ejected from the solar system

    11/11/2011 5:16:23 AM PST · by decimon · 52 replies · 1+ views
    Southwest Research Institute ^ | November 10, 2011
    Boulder, Colo. Nov. 10, 2011 Just as an expert chess player sacrifices a piece to protect the queen, the solar system may have given up a giant planet and spared the Earth, according to an article recently published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. "We have all sorts of clues about the early evolution of the solar system," says author Dr. David Nesvorny of the Southwest Research Institute. "They come from the analysis of the trans-Neptunian population of small bodies known as the Kuiper Belt, and from the lunar cratering record." These clues suggest that the orbits of giant...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Hurricane Irene Forms

    08/28/2011 4:48:50 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies · 1+ views
    NASA ^ | August 27, 2011 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How does a hurricane form? Although a complete picture is still being researched, insight into this process might be gleaned by watching the above time lapse movie of the formation of Hurricane Irene, a large storm system currently threatening the eastern seaboard of the USA. Starting as a slight pressure difference visible as nondescript clouds on the lower right, Hurricane Irene is shown growing into large spiraling storm system of low pressure off the coast of South Carolina. A hurricane is powered by evaporating ocean water, and so typically gains strength over warm water and loses strength over land....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Neptune: Once Around

    07/14/2011 3:10:48 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 38 replies
    NASA ^ | July 14, 2011 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Neptune rotates once on its axis in about 16 hours. So, spaced about 4 hours apart these 4 images of the solar system's most distant gas giant cover one Neptune day. Recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope in late June they combine exposures made with visible and near-infrared filters to show high-altitude clouds composed of methane ice crystals against the planet's normally blue cloud tops. Because Neptune's axis of rotation is tilted to its orbital plane by 29 degrees, compared to Earth's 23.5 degrees, Neptune experiences seasons analogous to Earth's. As early summer comes to Neptune's southern hemisphere and...
  • Comparing Christianity and the New Paganism

    05/09/2011 11:11:10 AM PDT · by bronxville · 99 replies
    Integrated Catholic Life ^ | March 10, 2011 | Dr. Peter Kreeft
    Comparing Christianity and the New Paganism The most serious challenge for Christianity today isn't one of the other great religions of the world, such as Islam or Buddhism. Nor is it simple atheism, which has no depth, no mass appeal, no staying power. Rather, it's a religion most of us think is dead. That religion is paganism and it is very much alive. Paganism is simply the natural gravity of the human spirit, the line of least resistance, religion in its fallen state. The "old" paganism came from the country. Indeed, the very word "paganism" comes from the Latin...
  • Night Sky Query

    01/30/2011 12:40:30 PM PST · by Cletus.D.Yokel · 46 replies
    Another stinkin vanity from Cletus | Star Date 2799.33 | Duh...
    Okay, you FR sky watchers, what is the very bright planet I see each morning as I make my way into the city of Chicago? It is in the SE sky. Just asking and yes, I've checked Uranus...
  • A FOCAL Mission into the Oort Cloud

    11/15/2010 1:22:29 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 8 replies
    Centauri Dreams ^ | 11/15/10 | Paul Gilster
    A FOCAL Mission into the Oort Cloud by Paul Gilster on November 15, 2010 After all this time, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea of massive objects in space as lenses, their distortion of spacetime offering the ability to see distant objects at huge magnification. On Friday we saw how the lensing effect caused by galactic clusters can be used to study dark energy. And consider the early results from the Herschel-ATLAS project, conducted by ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory. Herschel is scanning large areas of the sky in far-infrared and sub-millimeter light. Many of its...
  • Asteroid discovered in Neptunian dead zone [L5 Neptune Trojan asteroid]

    08/29/2010 4:29:44 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    MSNBC ^ | 8/12/2010 | Denise Chow
    The asteroid, which follows Neptune's orbit around the sun, ...classified as a Trojan, was found in a difficult-to-detect area near Neptune, known as the Lagrangian point L5. Lagrangian points are five areas in space where the gravitational tugs from two relatively massive bodies -- such as Neptune and the sun -- balance out. This allows smaller bodies, like asteroids, to remain stable and fixed in synch with the planet's orbit, as they orbit the sun... Trojan asteroids have previously been found in some of the stable points near Neptune and Jupiter, but this is the first discovery of a Trojan...
  • Uranus may have Melting and Resolidifying Diamond Oceans

    01/19/2010 6:54:40 AM PST · by rface · 68 replies · 1,635+ views
    Discovery News ^ | Jan 2010 | Eric Bland
    Oceans of liquid diamond, filled with solid diamond icebergs, could be floating on Neptune and Uranus, according to a recent article in the journal Nature Physics. The research, based on first detailed measurements of the melting point of diamond, found diamond behaves like water during freezing and melting, with solid forms floating atop liquid forms. The surprising revelation gives scientists a new understanding about diamonds and some of the most distant planets in our solar system..
  • Diamond Oceans Possible on Uranus, Neptune

    01/17/2010 3:44:54 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 45 replies · 1,416+ views
    Discovery ^ | 1/15/10 | Eric Bland
    By melting and resolidifying diamond, scientists explain how such liquid diamond oceans may be possible.Oceans of liquid diamond, filled with solid diamond icebergs, could be floating on Neptune and Uranus, according to a recent article in the journal Nature Physics. The research, based on first detailed measurements of the melting point of diamond, found diamond behaves like water during freezing and melting, with solid forms floating atop liquid forms. The surprising revelation gives scientists a new understanding about diamonds and some of the most distant planets in our solar system. "Diamond is a relatively common material on Earth, but...
  • Galileo's notebooks may reveal secrets of new planet

    07/09/2009 7:04:30 AM PDT · by decimon · 4 replies · 382+ views
    University of Melbourne ^ | Jul 9, 2009 | Unknown
    Galileo knew he had discovered a new planet in 1613, 234 years before its official discovery date, according to a new theory by a University of Melbourne physicist. Professor David Jamieson, Head of the School of Physics, is investigating the notebooks of Galileo from 400 years ago and believes that buried in the notations is the evidence that he discovered a new planet that we now know as Neptune. A hypothesis of how to look for this evidence has been published in the journal Australian Physics and was presented at the first lecture in the 2009 July Lectures in Physics...