The planet Saturn captures the imagination with its visually stunning rings. Close-up views from our robotic emissaries have revealed braided ring structures, dynamic weather systems that include a gigantic polar hexagon and a diverse family of moons — each with a distinctive appearance. One of the moons, Titan, features landscapes reminiscent of Earth — but with a twist. Continue reading Exploring the Realm of Saturn with Mobile Astronomy Apps
Where DO baby planets come from? Well, this observation of a young sun-like star sporting a ringed protoplanetary disk holds the answer.
This beautiful image captured by the powerful Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Aray (ALMA) in Chile shows the disk of gas and dust surrounding the 10 million year-old star TW Hydrae, which is located nearby — only 175 light-years from Earth. We are basically looking at the star system’s orbital plane face-on — it’s about this plane that any future planets will orbit their star. Continue reading ‘Baby Earth 2.0’ Found in Young Star’s Crib
Amateur astronomers the world over enjoy regular views of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and even elusive Mercury. The outer solar system planets Uranus and Neptune, however, are often overlooked. Certainly they are fainter, as they are further away, so there is much less detail to be seen. That said, they are worthy targets and should be seen as a challenge and not avoided. Continue reading Hunting Uranus, the Solar System’s Azure Ice Giant