Highlights from the International Astronomical Union Symposium on “Exploring the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems”.
Mercury’s high density has been a longstanding puzzle in planetary science. Its density means that it must have a significantly higher iron abundance than Venus, Earth, Mars, or the asteroids, probably in the form of a large iron core. NASA’s MESSENGER mission has challenged many of the hypothesized ways to create an iron-rich Mercury; a new hypothesis is required.
The number of known moons of Pluto has now reached five. What are they like, and how did they get there? Kenyon and Bromley use numerical simulations to answer these questions and determine what else New Horizons may find in 2015.
A pair of Colombian scientists has made the first attempt to figure out the meteoroid that exploded over Russia last month.
In our search for life on other planets, we begin by determining which exoplanets orbit in the habitable zone of their star. But where exactly is the habitable zone for a given star? The authors of this paper update a previous planetary climate model to predict where you should looking for your next extrasolar vacation home.
TITLE: A Search for Vulcanoids with the STEREO Heliospheric Imager AUTHORS: A. J. Steffl, N. J. Cunningham, A. B. Shinn, D. D. Durda, S. A. Stern FIRST AUTHOR’S INSTITUTION: Southwest Research Institute, Boulder The recent evidence for an asteroid belt in the Vega system highlights how well we’re getting to know the solar systems around other [...]
A new asteroid belt discovered around Vega makes this system look more similar to the Solar System than we had previous thought. The gap between the two belts around Vega may indicate the presence of multiple planets.
The Solar System’s interplanetary dust (called zodiacal dust) can be a source of noise in infrared and optical observations, but it also holds information about the recent history of the Solar System. This new and improved model of the zodiacal dust reveals the relative contributions to the dust by asteroids, comets, and interstellar dust.
I’ve got pretty bad eyesight. If I take off my glasses and look at the flowers on my window sill, they look like a fuzzy yellow blob. But with glasses, the petals and the patterns cast on them come into focus. This is how I felt when looking at the new observations of the debris disk around AU Mic. Putting on our ALMA glasses, the fuzzy debris disk around AU Mic is sharpening into something surprisingly consistent with our own Solar System.
It’s March 2, 1979. Two years ago, the Voyager spacecraft were launched on trajectories that will allow them to carry out their primary missions: the study of the outer Solar System, in particular Jupiter and Saturn. It’s just three days before Voyager 1′s closest approach to Jupiter. The paper that was published on March 2nd, 1979 in Science is a prediction for what the Voyager spacecraft might see on Io based on the orbital motions of these three satellites.