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Jupiter: The Banded, Big, And Precocious “King Of Planets”

Jupiter: The Banded, Big, And Precocious “King Of Planets” By Judith E Braffman-Miller Banded, big, and precocious, the gas-giant Jupiter is our Solar System’s resident planetary behemoth with a mass that is one-thousandth that of our Sun–and two and a half times that of all the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is like a star in composition,…

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The Icy Moon That Toppled Over

The Icy Moon That Toppled Over By Judith E Braffman-Miller Saturn’s ocean-bearing, icy moon Enceladus is a small, bright world of mystery. For decades, planetary scientists did not know why Enceladus was the brightest world in our entire Solar System, or how it was linked to its parent planet’s E ring, but NASA’s highly successful Cassini mission to the ringed…

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There’s Something New In The Heavens Named “Synestia”

There’s Something New In The Heavens Named “Synestia” By Judith E Braffman-Miller Scientific detectives now have something new to look for in the mysterious heavens–a doughnut shaped body composed of vaporized molten rock that has been named synestia by its discoverers. This new and strange beast inhabiting the celestial zoo is believed to form when planet-sized objects smash catastrophically into…

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A Moon For A Small World

In our Solar System’s outer limits, far from the melting heat and warm, welcoming fires of our Sun, there is a mysterious swath of space situated in the frigid murkiness of a perpetual twilight. This is the Kuiper Belt, a remote region where a multitude of icy comet nuclei and other frozen objects orbit our distant Star. Here, in the deep freeze of our Solar System’s far suburbs, the ice dwarf planet Pluto and its quintet of moons do their strange distant dance along with a treasure trove of others of their frozen kind. Indeed, the Kuiper Belt is so far away that astronomers are only now first beginning to explore this shadowy region–unveiling, at last, many of its well-kept secrets. In May 2017, astronomers announced that they had uncovered yet another of this dimly lit domain’s many mysteries–there is a little frozen moon in orbit around 2007 OR10, which is the third-largest known dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt..

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A Distant Warm Neptune’s Surprising Atmosphere

A Distant Warm Neptune’s Surprising Atmosphere By Judith E Braffman-Miller The weird, wonderful worlds that exist in the distant families of stars beyond our Sun, have presented more than a few bewitching, bewildering, and bothersome surprises for planet-hunting astronomers to solve. While the discovery of new exoplanets occurs on an almost daily basis today, it was only a generation ago…

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The Electric Sands Of A Misty Moisty Moon Of Saturn

The Electric Sands Of A Misty Moisty Moon Of Saturn By Judith E Braffman-Miller The outer Solar System is enshrouded in the perpetual semi-darkness that exists far from the brilliant light and warmth of our Sun. Here, in this cold, shadowy outer kingdom, a quartet of gaseous, giant, majestic planets reign supreme–Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune–all circled by most of…

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The Martian “Doldrums”

The Martian “Doldrums” By Judith E Braffman-Miller Like other stars, our Sun was born surrounded by a swirling, whirling accretion disk composed of gas and dust. These protoplanetary accretion disks–that form gaseous rings around baby stars–contain the ingredients necessary to build up a family of planets, moons, and smaller objects that will populate an emerging solar system. Our primordial Solar…

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The Mystery Of The Vanishing Ice Volcanoes

The Mystery Of The Vanishing Ice Volcanoes By Judith E Braffman-Miller Strange things happen in our Solar System–things that do not occur on Earth, and are decidedly alien and unfamiliar to us. Take the dwarf planet Ceres, for example. This small, spherical denizen of the Main Asteroid Belt, located between Mars and Jupiter, apparently has had, in the past, odd…

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Our Solar System – The Planets

Our Solar System – The Planets By Satvik Mittal In our solar system, we have 8 planets. These planets revolve around the Sun and each planet has its own orbit. According to most of the astronomers, our solar system has two parts: the inner solar system and the outer solar system. In the former, there are 4 planets namely Mercury,…

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The Sinister Story Of Our Sun’s Evil Twin

The Sinister Story Of Our Sun’s Evil Twin By Judith E Braffman-Miller Dwelling in our Milky Way Galaxy, about 300 light-years away, there is a small star named HIP68468. This little star is so much like our own Sun that it is often referred to as its “twin”–but if HIP68468 is our own Star’s twin, it is an evil one…

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