Planets

Blog about planets.

Valleys on Mars eroded by rainfall (Image courtesy Elsevier)

An article published in the journal “Icarus” describes a research on rainfall on the young planet Mars. Geologists Robert Craddock of Smithsonian Institution and Ralph Lorenz of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory showed how the changes in the Martian atmosphere caused an increase in rainfall, which had effects on the surface of the planet similar to those we see on Earth.

2007 OR10 and its moon (Image NASA, ESA, C. Kiss (Konkoly Observatory), and J. Stansberry (STScI))

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes the discovery of a moon of the 2007 OR10 transnettunian object. It’s most likely a dwarf planet which is still little known because right now it’s distant from the Sun about 87 times the Earth. A team of astronomers led by Csaba Kiss of the Konkoly Observatory in Budapest analyzed images of the Hubble Space Telescope’s archive finding two images of 2007 OR10’s moon.

A panorama of the area accessing Perseverance Valley (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity has begun its scientific work in yet another Mars area to be explored during a mission that has been going on for over 13 Earth’s years. This mission was extended for the tenth time in 2016 and now its goal is to study “Perseverance Valley”, an ancient valley on the inner slope of the Endeavor crater’s rim to figure out how it formed.

Artist's illustration of TRAPPIST-1 and its planets (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the magazine “Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes a research on the orbits of the TRAPPIST-1 system’s planets. NASA’s announcement of the detection of 7 planets in that system of which at least three in the habitable zone raised enthusiasm but the data collected seemed to indicate an instability in those planets’ orbits. A team led by Dan Tamayo of the University of Toronto offers an explanation based on a series of orbital resonances that keep the system stable.

Artist's concept of HAT-P-26b observed by Hubble and Spitzer (Image NASA/GSFC)

An article published in the journal “Science” describes a research on the exoplanet HAT-P-26b, a warm Neptune, meaning a planet of size similar to Neptune that orbits near its star HAT-P-26. A team of researchers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the British University of Exeter used the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to discover what is called a primitive atmosphere for HAT-P-26b despite its star being old.