A Set of Plates That are Out of This World

Back when Pluto had some status in our solar system, a handy way to remember the names of the planets was the 'My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas' mnemonic, where the first letter of each word represented each celestial orb. But it's just confusing now that Pluto's gone, so maybe a set of planet-themed plates might be a better learning tool. Read More >>

The Planet Mercury is Shrinking

Just like a flat-cap-wearing old man, the planet Mercury, closest to the Sun in the Solar System, is shrinking in size as it ages. Scientists now estimate that Mercury measures 8.6 miles smaller in diameter than it was before it started picking up its pension four billion years ago. Read More >>

Europe's Space Agency Launching Planet-Finder Satellite Observatory in 2024

The European Space Agency will be launching its PLATO mission in the distant space year of 2024, hunting for stars with life-supporting planets from the clear orbital skies. PLATO stands for Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars, which sounds best read to yourself in your finest whimsical Brian Cox impression. Read More >>

Help NASA Find Baby Solar Systems Forming Deep in Our Universe

NASA scientists are poring over their most detailed snapshots of our universe, searching for the hallmark shapes that indicate a planet being formed. And you can help them, even if you never got that Ph.D. in astronomy, just by hopping on the Disk Detective website. Read More >>

Gemini's First Image Shows a Planet Orbiting a Star 63 Light Years Away

It might not be much to look at, but this image is insanely exciting. You're looking at the first ever image of a planet, orbiting a star, over 63 light years from Earth.
Acquired by the world's most powerful planet-hunting instrument, the Gemini Planet Imager, it shows a 10-million-year-old planet, Beta Pictorus b, orbiting its giant parent star Beta Pictorus. It's the first such image to come from Gemini, which has been under development for over a decade but is only now producing data like this. Read More >>

The Naked Metal Core of a Dead Planet Is Circling the Sun

You know about those plans to visit an asteroid in the next few years? Well, a select group of astronauts would like to sweeten the deal. Why visit a regular asteroid, when there's a planet's solid metal floating up there and it's likely magnetic? Read More >>

All the Habitable Planets Within 60 Light-Years of Earth, Visualised

There may well be more than 60 billion habitable planets littering the Milky Way, but it's virtually impossible to make use of that figure. Instead, how about this picture, which shows you how many planets are within 60 light-years of Earth. Read More >>

Scientists Found the Remains of a Water Covered Earth-Like Planet

A team of astrophysicists have made an exciting however complex discovery a mere 170 light years away. In their own words, it's "the first evidence of a water-rich rocky planetary body" outside of our own solar system to have evidence of water. It's the "rocky" bit that makes it Earth-like. Read More >>

An Endangered Animal Sperm Bank Will Let Us Bring Pandas to Space

Whether or not you think that certain endangered animals are worth all the fuss, *cough*pandas*cough*, judging by the internet's recent, excited tittering over a potential panda pregnancy, the majority of people are very much pro animal kingdom diversity. So much so, in fact, that a team of Japanese scientists has begun freeze drying certain endangered animals' sperm in the hopes of one day bringing them with us to other planets.
So far, the team at Kyoto University's Institute of Laboratory Animals Graduate School of Medicine has successfully preserved the sperm of two different endangered primates and a species of giraffe. This sperm is being stored for a very long haul though, and if this stuff really is going to last until we're ready to blast off, it needs to be incredibly stable. To solve this problem, Takehito Kaneko, an associate professor working on the study, mixed the animals' baby juice with a special preservative before freeze drying the mixture, allowing it to safely exist at a cool, but still much warmer than other methods would require, 3.8 degrees Celsius. Read More >>

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Venus, Please Be More Of A Badass In This Photo

This looks like your brain on drugs, but it's actually a rare solar eclipse from last June in which Venus moved between the Sun and the Earth the way the Moon usually does. Venus looked like a thinner and thinner crescent until it was perfectly aligned with the Sun, creating a Venusian annular eclipse with a ring of fire. The Solar Dynamics Observatory imaged the Sun in three colors of UV light, producing data for this image. The next Venusian solar eclipse will occur in 2117, so you'll have time to enjoy this photo for awhile before it's challenged by something even crazier. [APOD] Read More >>

This Astronomically Correct Jupiter Cake Is a Gas

Not only is this Jupiter cake just a marvellous sight, it's an astronomically correct model of Jupiter. Read More >>

Everything We Know About Planet Formation Might Be Wrong

Scientists believe they may have stumbled upon a planet that currently circles its sun at twice the distance Pluto's does ours. And should they be able to confirm that, yes, this is in fact a planet we're dealing with, astronomers may have to redefine the entire way we think about planet formation. Read More >>

These Portraits Are Made From Hubble Images (and Yours Can Be, too)

These striking images might only just look like faces — but that's OK, because they're made up of images acquired by the Hubble space telescope. Read More >>

There Are 60 Billion Habitable Planets Littering the Milky Way

A new study suggests that there are as many as 60 billion habitable planets orbiting red dwarf stars in the Milky Way alone—twice the number previously thought and strong evidence to hint that we may not be alone. Read More >>

What Life on Earth Would Look Like If It Had Rings Like Saturn

Every so often when the Moon is especially ginormous or we can see Venus or Mars from Earth, humans collectively freak out. So cool three-exclamation-points, we scream. Look how big with thirty i's, we yell. And it's warranted! Seeing things that don't belong in the sky pop up, well, in the sky is fun. So could you imagine if one day Earth developed rings like Saturn? It would be insane. Read More >>

What New York City Would Look Like on Other Planets

Arguably the most iconic skyline in the world (thanks to movies) would look completely different if it was on another world. On Venus, New York City would be a yellow haze, on Mercury would look glow in the dark, on Mars would make everything rusty and on Uranus and Neptune would totally obliterate the city. Read More >>


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