Posts in category

Solar System


After eight years in orbit, ESA’s Venus Express has completed routine science observations and is preparing for a daring plunge into the planet’s hostile atmosphere. Venus Express was launched on a Soyuz–Fregat from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 9 November 2005, and arrived at Venus on 11 April 2006. It has been orbiting …

The largest moon in our solar system, a companion to Jupiter named Ganymede, might have ice and oceans stacked up in several layers like a club sandwich, according to new NASA-funded research that models the moon’s makeup. Previously, the moon was thought to harbor a thick ocean sandwiched between just two layers of ice, one …

As NASA’s Cassini mission approaches its 10th anniversary at Saturn, its team members back here on Earth are already looking ahead to an upcoming phase. Starting in late 2016, the Cassini spacecraft will repeatedly climb high above Saturn’s north pole, flying just outside its narrow F ring. Cassini will probe the water-rich plume of the …

Of all the planets that orbit around our Sun there are two that are easily visible and are fascinating objects to view. These are, of course, Saturn and Jupiter. Of these Jupiter is prominent in our night skies at the moment. At magnitude -2.06 it is the third brightest thing in the sky after the …

As if NASA’s Voyager mission didn’t have enough firsts in its 36-year journey, what with sending the first spacecraft to Uranus, Neptune and, most recently, interstellar space! Now, it has another first back here on Earth: on the December 3, 2013 episode of the Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert floated across the stage in a …

The media was full of talk of comets with the inaugural visit of Comet ISON C/2012 S1. It was pre-hyped as being “The Comet of the Century”, being visible in daylight etc, etc. The reality of the matter is that comets are strange beasts and are rarely predictable unless they have been round a few …