Winter solstice: The astronomy of Christmas

From the Neolithic to present times, the amount of sunlight we see in a day has had a profound impact on human culture. We are fast approaching the winter solstice for the Northern hemisphere, which takes place on December ...

There could be snow on Mars – here's how that's possible

Given that there are ambitious plans to colonise Mars in the near future, it is surprising how much we still have to learn about what it would be like to actually live on the planet. Take the weather, for instance. We know ...

Ice in Ceres' shadowed craters linked to tilt history

Dwarf planet Ceres may be hundreds of millions of miles from Jupiter, and even farther from Saturn, but the tremendous influence of gravity from these gas giants has an appreciable effect on Ceres' orientation. In a new study, ...

What is the coldest planet of the solar system?

The solar system is pretty huge place, extending from our sun at the center all the way out to the Kuiper Cliff – a boundary within the Kuiper Belt that is located 50 AU from the sun. As a rule, the farther one ventures ...

Ancient Pluto may have had lakes and rivers of nitrogen

The New Horizons probe revealed the surface features of Pluto in rich detail when it reached the dwarf planet in July 2015. Some of the features look like snapshots of rivers and lakes that are locked firmly in place by Pluto's ...

Solar analemma 2015

If you took a picture of the Sun every day, always at the same hour and from the same location, would the Sun appear in the same spot in the sky? A very fine image, compiled by astrophotographer Giuseppe Petricca from Italy, ...

Once around the sun with Jupiter

For Jupiterians (Jovians?) a trip around the sun takes 12 Earth years. If you were born today on the planet or one of its moons, you'd turn one year old in 2027 and reach the ripe old age of 12 in 2111.

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