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.
The hinterlands of our solar system are tough to study. The objects beyond the realm of the planets are so far and small that it’s difficult to even find them.
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.
Hydra, the water snake, slithers low across the sky on spring evenings. Its faint head is in the southwest at nightfall. Last year, astronomers reported the discovery of a giant planet orbiting a star that’s not far from the head.
Astronomers have found the smallest planet yet outside of our solar system.