Pluto News, The Kuipers and Beyond
November 28, 2016
Pluto follows its cold, cold heart
Tucson AZ (SPX) Nov 17, 2016
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 roll over, creating cracks and tensions in the crust that point towards the presence of a subsurface ocean. Published in the Nov. 17 issue of Nature, these are the conclusions of research by James Keane, a doctoral student at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, and his adviser, as ... read 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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Alex Parker Discovers Moon Over Makemake in the Kuiper Belt
A Southwest Research Institute-led team has discovered an elusive, dark moon orbiting Makemake, one of the "big four" dwarf planets populating the Kuiper Belt region at the edge of our solar system. ... more
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Hubble locates new dark spot on Neptune
There's a new dark spot on Neptune, the farthest planet from the sun. ... more
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Pluto's Subsurface Ocean Likely Exists Today
Ongoing geological activity on Pluto seen by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft could be caused by the partial freezing of a subsurface ocean that likely still exists today, a new paper in Geophysical R ... more
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Case Bolstered for a Present-Day Subsurface Ocean on Pluto
When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft buzzed by Pluto last year, it revealed tantalizing clues that the dwarf planet might have - or had at one time - a liquid ocean sloshing around under its icy crus ... more
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New evidence suggests Pluto likely features subsurface ocean
Previous studies have revealed the possibility of a subsurface ocean on Pluto - if not currently, then at least at some point during its planetary history. ... more
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Extreme trans-Neptunian objects lead the way to Planet Nine
In the race towards the discovery of a ninth planet in our solar system, scientists from around the world strive to calculate its orbit using the tracks left by the small bodies that move well beyon ... more
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The Jagged Shores of Pluto's Highlands
This enhanced color view from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft zooms in on the southeastern portion of Pluto's great ice plains, where at lower right the plains border rugged, dark highlands informall ... more
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Secrets Revealed from Pluto's "Twilight Zone"
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft took this stunning image of Pluto only a few minutes after closest approach on July 14, 2015. The image was obtained at a high phase angle - that is, with the Sun on t ... more
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Purdue team finds convection could produce Pluto's polygons
Data reported by NASA's New Horizons New Horizons mission to the Pluto system shows unusual terrain in this region, which features a large deposit of nitrogen ice with a pattern of polygons that are ... more
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