Maps of lunar polar hydrogen (a proxy for water ice). The hydrogen abundance maxima (white dots) are offset significantly from the present north and south pole, and are inferred to be ancient lunar spin poles. (Image Credit: James Tuttle Keane)

A new spin on the Moon

The moon once rotated on a different axis than the one it does today, according to researchers. Polar hydrogen deposits are located near the Moon’s poles, however their location is inconsistent with where ice would be expected to form with the current thermal environment of the moon. Researchers found that the Moon’s polar hydrogen deposits […]

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Bright spots on Ceres suggest water on the dwarf planet

Bright spots on the surface of Ceres suggest there is water activity in the main asteroid belt, and that asteroids may be more active than previously thought. Researchers analyzed data obtained from the Dawn spacecraft to make detailed observations of Ceres surface.  The researchers detected 130 bright spots, which they believe contain haze, showing the involvement […]

An artist's impression of the two theories on how Ceres formed. In the first image, Ceres formed in the main belt and ammonia was incorporated from the external zones of the Solar System.
In the second, Ceres itself was formed in the external zones of the Solar System, including ammonia in its formation process, and then migrated to the main belt. (Image credit: L.Giacomini)

Is Ceres from the outer Solar System?

The dwarf planet Ceres may have formed from minerals found in the outer Solar System, according to data taken by the Dawn Spacecraft. Researchers identified specific minerals, which are widespread on the planet’s surface. The minerals suggest ammonia was incorporated into the planet during its formation. Original research paper published in Nature on December 9, 2015. Names […]

How to build a gas giant

Using computer simulations researchers have modeled the evolution of the gas giants in the Solar System, potentially providing an account for how the largest planets in our system formed. The study shows that when small centimeter- to meter-sized “pebbles” slowly accumulate they form planetesimals which become the cores of gas giants. It was previously thought […]

Saturn's F ring and two shepherd satellites (inner Prometheus and outer Pandora) seen by Cassini spacecraft. Saturn is to the right of the image. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

Explaining the origin of shepherd moons

The origin of “shepherd moons” in planetary rings such as those found on Saturn and Uranus may be a natural consequence of ring evolution around giant planets. Studying the two shepherd moons in Saturn’s F ring system, Prometheus and Pandora, researchers has found how these moons may form. Using computer simulated collisions between icy moonlets […]

An artist's impression of the aurorae on the brown dwarf LSR J1835. (Image credit: Chuck Carter and Gregg Hallinan/Caltech)

Powerful aurora seen 18.5 light years away

Astronomers have detected auroral activity, seen on Earth as the Northern and Southern Lights, on a stellar object, believed to be a brown dwarf, outside of our Solar System. The team simultaneously detected radio and optical auroral emissions from the extrasolar body LSR J1853, located 5.67 parsecs or 18.5 light years away from our Sun. Additionally […]

Researchers analyzed rocks probed by the Curiosity rover and found that light-coloured rocks are rich in silica content and are found in a variety of compositions on the Martian crust. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Martian crust shows similarities to the Earth’s oldest continental crust

Silica-rich rocks found in the Martian crust shows ancient Mars may have been more similar to Earth than previously thought. These rocks are similar to some of the Earth’s oldest continental crust, which have, until now, only been observed in small, localized areas on Mars. The new findings suggest the the Red Planet has experienced […]

Curiosity's mast and rover deck, where the air and ground temperature, and UV sensors are located. (Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

A place for life to form on the Martian surface?

    Thin films of liquid brines which could hypothetically support life may form daily on soil on Mars and evaporate overnight, according to a new study. The Curiosity rover, which is traversing Gale crater on equatorial region of Mars, has detected a type of salt called perchlorate. Perchlorate salts both lower the freezing temperature […]

The galaxy A1689-zD1 is located in the box although it is still so faint that it is barely seen in this picture. Until now astronomers were worried that such distant galaxies would not be detectable using the currently available equipment. (Image courtesy of NASA; ESA; L. Bradley (Johns Hopkins University); R. Bouwens (University of California, Santa Cruz); H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University); and G. Illingworth (University of California, Santa Cruz))

Changing when stars were formed

A galaxy from the early universe is providing new insight on the formation of stars. Researchers have found one of the youngest and most remote galaxies, estimated to have formed when the Universe was approximately 700 million years old. The astronomers believe the galaxy has either been consistently forming stars at a moderate rate since […]

An artists impression showing the centre of planetary nebula Henize 2-428, in which lies two white dwarf stars, which researchers believe will one day merge and explode into a supernova. (Photo Credit: ESO/L. Calçada)

First of its kind star system spotted

While attempting to explain the odd shapes some planetary nebula researchers discovered the pair of stars that could be the first instance of two white dwarfs merging and exploding into a supernova. This finding supports the idea that double central stars may explain the odd shape of some nebulae. The researchers believe this is the […]

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