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Saturn's rings in a supercomputer

Why do some planets, like Saturn or Jupiter, have rings, while others, like Earth or Mars, do not? It turns out that "size does not matter"—gas giants like Saturn are not the only bodies that can possess rings; even tiny ...

dateAug 07, 2015 in Space Exploration
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The dwarf planet Haumea

The Trans-Neptunian region has become a veritable treasure trove of discoveries in recent years. Since 2003, the dwarf planets and "plutoids" of Eris, Sedna, Makemake, Quaoar, and Orcus were all observed beyond the orbit ...

dateAug 14, 2015 in Space Exploration
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Exoplanets 20/20: Looking back to the future

Geoff Marcy remembers the hair standing up on the back of his neck. Paul Butler remembers being dead tired. The two men had just made history: the first confirmation of a planet orbiting another star.

dateJul 31, 2015 in Astronomy
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NASA image: Stellar sparklers that last

While fireworks only last a short time here on Earth, a bundle of cosmic sparklers in a nearby cluster of stars will be going off for a very long time. NGC 1333 is a star cluster populated with many young stars that are less ...

dateJul 03, 2015 in Astronomy
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Can planets be rejuvenated around dead stars?

For a planet, this would be like a day at the spa. After years of growing old, a massive planet could, in theory, brighten up with a radiant, youthful glow. Rejuvenated planets, as they are nicknamed, are only hypothetical. ...

dateJun 26, 2015 in Astronomy
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Helium-shrouded planets may be common in our galaxy

They wouldn't float like balloons or give you the chance to talk in high, squeaky voices, but planets with helium skies may constitute an exotic planetary class in our Milky Way galaxy. Researchers using data from NASA's ...

dateJun 11, 2015 in Astronomy
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