Planets

Artistic representation of the biggest dwarf planets in the solar system (Image Konkoly Observatory/András Pál, Hungarian Astronomical Association/Iván Éder, NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

An article published in “The Astronomical Journal” describes a research on a trans-Neptunian object called 2007 OR10. A team of astronomers used NASA’s Kepler space telescope and archive data of ESA’s Herschel space telescope’s observations to study this celestial body. The result is that they discovered that it’s much bigger than it looked and is probably a dwarf planet.

Topographic map of the planet Mercury (Image USGS)

NASA’s MESSENGER mission has published the first complete topographical map of the planet Mercury. To be precise, it’s a Digital Elevation Model (DEM), a representation of the elevation distribution of territory, or of another surface, in digital format. It’s the product of the processing of data collected by the MESSENGER space probe during its mission ended just over a year ago.

Crater in Memnonia Fossae (Image DLR)

The German space agency DLR published photos of a curious crater marked by a deep rift that splits it in two in the area of ​​Mars called Memnonia Fossae. These are photos taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), one of the instruments of ESA’s Mars Express space probe.

Artistic representation of the TRAPPIST-1 system with its planets seen from one of them (Image ESO/M. Kornmesser)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the discovery of a solar system with three rocky planets that orbit the star TRAPPIST-1, a really small ultra-cool dwarf. A team led by Michaël Gillon of the Institut d’Astrophysique et Géophysique at the University of Liège in Belgium, found these planets with sizes and surface temperatures similar to those of the Earth using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.