Cal Tech astronomer and author Mike Brown helped to demote Pluto from planethood – and got a lot of hate mail as a result.
Voyager 1: Since 2004, the Voyager 1 probe has been exploring a region of space where solar wind slows abruptly and crashes into the thin gas between stars.
New calculations indicate that Pluto might be the largest object in the outer solar system. Does it now deserve to be called a planet again?
The alien world has already gone through the red giant phase of stellar evolution, a milestone our sun should reach in 5 billion years or so. The fact that the newly discovered exoplanet survived this dramatic event suggests some planets in our solar system might, too.
This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Thursday May 4, 2006 shows a second red spot (lower l.) emerging on Jupiter. For the first time in history, astronomers have witnessed the birth of a new red spot on the giant planet, which is located half a billion miles away. The storm is roughly one-half the diameter of its bigger and legendary cousin, the Great Red Spot. Researchers suggest that the new spot may be related to a possible major climate change in Jupiter's atmosphere.
Seen here is a full-scale model of one of the twin Voyager spacecraft, which was sent to explore the giant outer planets in our solar system. Voyager 2 was launched August 20, 1977 followed by the launch of Voyager 1 sixteen days later. Both spacecraft visited Jupiter and Saturn with Voyager 2 continuing its journey to Uranus and Neptune. In spring 1990, Voyager 2 transmitted images looking back across the span of the entire solar system. Both Voyagers continue to explore interstellar space.
Astronaut Dale A. Gardner, getting his turn in the Manned Maneuvering Unit, prepares to dock with the spinning WESTAR VI satellite during the STS-51A mission in 1985. Gardner used a large tool called the Apogee Kick Motor Capture Device to enter the nozzle of a spent WESTAR VI engine and stabilize the communications spacecraft sufficiently to capture it for return to Earth in the cargo bay of the space shuttle Discovery.
Most ISS images are nadir, in which the center point of the image is directly beneath the lens of the camera, but this one is not. This highly oblique image of northwestern African captures the curvature of the Earth and shows its atmosphere. The Earth's atmosphere is composed of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and 1 percent other constituents, and it shields us from nearly all harmful radiation coming from the sun and other stars.
This ominous, dark shape sprawling across the face of the Sun is a coronal hole - a low density region extending above the surface where the solar magnetic field opens freely into interplanetary space. Studied extensively from space since the 1960s in ultraviolet and x-ray light, coronal holes are known to be the source of the high-speed solar wind, atoms and electrons which flow outward along the open magnetic field lines. During periods of low activity, coronal holes typically cover regions just above the Sun's poles.