Pluto News, The Kuipers and Beyond
January 10, 2017
How a moon slows the decay of Pluto's atmosphere
Atlanta GA (SPX) Jan 10, 2017
Pluto's relationship with its moon Charon is one of the more unusual interactions in the solar system due to Charon's size and proximity. It's more than half of Pluto's diameter and orbits only 12,000 or so miles away. To put that into perspective, picture our moon three times closer to Earth, and as large as Mars. A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology provides additional insight into this relationship and how it affects the continuous stripping of Pluto's atmosphere by solar wind. ... read more

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Exploring Pluto and the Wild Back Yonder
As 2016 ends, I can't help but point out an interesting symmetry in where the mission has recently been and where we are going. Exactly two years ago we had just taken New Horizons out of cruise hib ... more
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Juno Captures Jupiter 'Pearl'
This image, taken by the JunoCam imager on NASA's Juno spacecraft, highlights the seventh of eight features forming a 'string of pearls on Jupiter - massive counterclockwise rotating storms that app ... more
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Juno Mission Prepares for December 11 Jupiter Flyby
On Sunday, December 11, at 9:04 a.m. PST (12:04 p.m. EST, 17:04 UTC) NASA's Juno spacecraft will make its third science flyby of Jupiter. At the time of closest approach (called perijove), Jun ... more
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Research Offers Clues About the Timing of Jupiter's Formation
A peculiar class of meteorites has offered scientists new clues about when the planet Jupiter took shape and wandered through the solar system. Scientists have theorized for years now that Jupiter p ... more
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New Perspective on How Pluto's "Icy Heart" Came to Be
Pluto's "icy heart" is a bright, two-lobed feature on its surface that has attracted researchers ever since its discovery by the NASA New Horizons team in 2015. Of particular interest is the heart's ... more
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Pluto follows its cold, cold heart
Sputnik Planitia, a 1,000-kilometer wide basin within the iconic heart-shaped region observed on Pluto's surface, could be in its present location because accumulation of ice made the dwarf planet r ... more
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New analysis adds to support for a subsurface ocean on Pluto
A liquid ocean lying deep beneath Pluto's frozen surface is the best explanation for features revealed by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, according to a new analysis. The idea that Pluto has a subsu ... more
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New Analysis Supports Subsurface Ocean on Pluto
A liquid ocean lying deep beneath Pluto's frozen surface is the best explanation for features revealed by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, according to a new analysis. The idea that Pluto has a subsu ... more
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Mystery solved behind birth of Saturn's rings
A team of researchers has presented a new model for the origin of Saturn's rings based on results of computer simulations. The results of the simulations are also applicable to rings of other giant ... more
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Last Bits of 2015 Pluto Flyby Data Received on Earth
NASA's New Horizons mission reached a major milestone this week when the last bits of science data from the Pluto flyby - stored on the spacecraft's digital recorders since July 2015 - arrived safel ... more
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Uranus may have two undiscovered moons
NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Uranus 30 years ago, but researchers are still making discoveries from the data it gathered then. A new study led by University of Idaho researchers suggests ther ... more
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Possible Clouds on Pluto, Next Target is Reddish
The next target for NASA's New Horizons mission - which made a historic flight past Pluto in July 2015 - apparently bears a colorful resemblance to its famous, main destination. NASA's Hubble ... more
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Curious tilt of the Sun traced to undiscovered planet
Planet Nine - the undiscovered planet at the edge of the solar system that was predicted by the work of Caltech's Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown in January 2016 - appears to be responsible for th ... more
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Shedding light on Pluto's glaciers
What is the origin of the large heart-shaped nitrogen glacier revealed in 2015 on Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft? Two researchers from the Laboratoire de meteorologie dynamique show that Pluto ... more
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Chandra detects low-energy X-rays from Pluto
Pluto is cold and rocky. It hosts no known X-ray-emitting mechanisms. Yet, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has detected low-energy X-rays coming from Pluto. ... more
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Scientists discover what extraordinary compounds may be hidden inside Jupiter and Neptune
Using computer modeling, chemists from MIPT and Skoltech (the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology) have found out which molecules may be present in the interiors of Uranus, Neptune, and the ... more
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New Horizons Spies a Kuiper Belt Companion
NASA's New Horizons is doing some sightseeing along the way, as the spacecraft speeds toward a New Year's Day 2019 date with an ancient object in the distant region beyond Pluto known as 2014 MU69. ... more
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Pluto's Methane Snowcaps on the Edge of Darkness
The southernmost part of Pluto that NASA's New Horizons spacecraft could "see" during closest approach in July 2015 contains a range of fascinating geological features, and offers clues into what mi ... more
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Hunt For Ninth Planet Reveals New Extremely Distant Solar System Objects
In the race to discover a proposed ninth planet in our solar system, Carnegie's Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of Northern Arizona University have observed several never-before-seen objects at ... more
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Pluto Flyby - A Year Later
About a year ago the New horizons spacecraft, funded by NASA and built by the Applied Physics Lab of Johns Hopkins University, completed its 9 0.5-year flight from Earth to the now dwarf planet, Plu ... more
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Scientists attempt to explain Neptune atmosphere's wobble
Astronomers have been monitoring the oscillating brightness of Neptune's atmosphere for the last 40 years. Using the data, a new study in the journal Nature Communications attempts to explain the planet's unique atmospheric wobbles. ... more
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New Distant Dwarf Planet Beyond Neptune
An international team of astronomers have discovered a new dwarf planet orbiting in the disk of small icy worlds beyond Neptune. The new object is roughly 700 kilometers in size and has one of the l ... more
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Researchers discover distant dwarf planet beyond Neptune
A new dwarf planet has been discovered orbiting among the icy ring of debris beyond Neptune. The object was named 2015 RR245 by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center. ... more
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New Horizons Receives Mission Extension to the Kuiper Belt
Following its historic first-ever flyby of Pluto, NASA's New Horizons mission has received the green light to fly onward to an object deeper in the Kuiper Belt, known as 2014 MU69. The spacecraft's ... more
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