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solar system

This tag is associated with 40 posts
The nearly circular orbits in our solar system, not drawn to scale.

How Weird Is Our Solar System?

Earth and its Solar System compatriots all have nearly circular orbits, but many exoplanets orbit their stars on wildly eccentric paths. Is our home system strange? Or is our sense of the data skewed?

Crowd-Sourcing Crater Identification

How good are citizen-scientists at characterizing crater densities and size distributions on the lunar surface? For that matter how good are the experts? Today’s study attempts to answer these questions by having a group of experts analyze images of the Moon from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera.

Pluto’s Dusty Neighborhood

Pluto’s small satellites have very low escape velocities, which means that dust kicked up by impacts has a relatively easy time of escaping rather than settling back down to the little moon’s surface. Today’s paper looks at the fates of that dust.

How giant planets affect accretion of water by rocky planets

How do giant planets affect the water content of rocky planets in habitable zones? Astronomers have run new planet formation simulations to try to answer this question.

Water ice in the solar nebula

The formation of water ice is an important first step in the formation of our Solar System. We review the process of early water ice formation and the difference between crystalline and amorphous water ice.

Was Mars’ ancient magnetic field global or localized?

Strongly magnetized rocks on Mars are primarily concentrated in the southern hemisphere. This paper raises a serious objection to the hypothesis that localized dynamo action in the ancient martian core explains this puzzling observation.

Seeding Life on Other Worlds

Can life spread from Earth to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn on rock ejected from meteoroid collisions? The authors of this paper start on answering this question by asking if ejected material from Earth can even reach the gas giants’ moons. The answer is yes, so it’s possible that microbial Earthlings have already traveled a lot farther than human ones.

Water in Gale Crater on Mars

The Mars rover Curiosity found significant traces of water in the martian soil. This indicates the soil contains water, about 2% by weight.

Studying Space Water: Measurements of the D/H Ratio in Comet 45P

This paper describes the measurement of the deuterium-to-hydrogen (D/H) ratio in a Jupiter-family comet, 45P. This ratio is related to the formation history of the comet and helps inform our understanding of the formation of our solar system.

Recap of the IAU Planet Formation Symposium

Highlights from the International Astronomical Union Symposium on “Exploring the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems”.

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