Astronomers create most detailed weather map yet of an exoplanet

Being able to find exoplanets orbiting distant stars is a major accomplishment in itself, and fine-tuning the data enough to discover details about the characteristics of those planets is quite another. Not an easy task. Astronomers have had some initial success, but now they have been able to create the most detailed weather map for … Read more

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Is shrinking – now the smallest ever seen

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is one of the most recognizable features in the Solar System: a massive hurricane-like oval-shaped storm in the atmosphere of the gas giant planet. It has been observed by telescopes and spacecraft for centuries. How a storm much larger than Earth could persist for so long has been mystery … Read more

Beautiful new views of Saturn’s auroras

Auroras are one of the most beautiful natural phenomena on Earth, but they can be found on other planets in the solar system as well, notably the gas giants. New photos and video were released today, February 11, 2014, of just such displays on Saturn, which is already well known of course for its stunning rings and hexagonal … Read more

New evidence from Hubble Space Telescope for exoplanet that ‘shouldn’t be there’

So far, thousands of exoplanets and exoplanet candidates have been found orbiting other stars. As well, astronomers have seen some exoplanets still in the process of formation, providing clues as to how our own solar system came to be. One of these recent “planet-under-construction” findings however is challenging current theories on planetary formation – it’s a planet which … Read more

Hot, steamy ‘waterworld’ exoplanet observed by Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope has made new observations of a “waterworld” exoplanet which has a thick, steamy atmosphere. The planet, GJ1214b, orbits a red-dwarf star and is about 40 light-years from Earth. It is about 2.7 times larger than Earth, with an estimated temperature of 232 ºC (450 ºF). While it orbits too close to its star to … Read more