Our solar system can be a dangerous place. The most striking evidence of that came 20 years ago today, when the first fragment of a shattered comet blasted the planet Jupiter.
Jupiter’s moon Europa is one of the most intriguing bodies in the solar system. Its icy crust appears to cover a global ocean that could be many miles deep.
Four of the five planets that are easily visible to the unaided eye arc across the sky shortly after sunset the next few evenings. One of the planets sinks from sight quickly, but the other three stick around for a while.
The second-largest planet in the solar system is putting in a first-rate performance this month. Today’s StarDate features Saturn.
Young planets are on the move — they may be born far from their stars but quickly move closer. Some may get too close — they may fall into the star and be destroyed.
The two most distant planets that are easily visible to the unaided eye bracket the sky late this evening. Jupiter — the brightest object in the sky at that time — is in the west around 10 or 11, with golden Saturn low in the east-southeast.