Solar System

How Did Pluto's Moons Form?

A massive collision with Pluto’s moon Charon could have formed the dwarf planet’s collection of smaller moons.

Planet-forming disk


Close Encounters in the Milky Way — and What They Mean for Planets

New research shows stellar flybys are common in our galaxy’s crowded center. That could have both good and bad (but mostly bad) effects on growing planets.

Mars: dry vs. wet

Solar System

Weak Martian Magnetic Field May Have Let Air Out

Mars's magnetic field weakened and disappeared billions of years ago. Now, scientists have found that the weak field might have been worse than none at all.

Mini-moon discovered

Solar System

Is Earth's Minimoon Still Here?

Reports of the loss of Earth's minimoon may have been somewhat exaggerated — new research suggests the moonlet will leave Earth orbit in early may.

Stellar Science

Flapping "Bat Wing" Could Reveal Secrets of Planet Formation

The shadow cast by a protoplanetary disk takes the shape of a bat — and over time, flaps like one, too. The eery shadow could help astronomers understand the planet-forming material inside the disk.

Color composite of 2014 MU69

Astronomy and Society

New Horizons Flyby Target Receives Official Name: Arrokoth

When NASA's New Horizons flew by a distant Kuiper Belt Object on New Year's Day, they nicknamed it "Ultima Thule." Now, the object has received an official moniker: Arrokoth.

Comet 2I/Borisov

Solar System

Interstellar Comet Borisov "Indistinguishable" from Solar System Comets

The solar system's newest interstellar visitor, Comet 2I/Borisov, bears a striking resemblance to the icy population of the outer solar system.

Starfall students

Astronomy and Society

Teens Hunt for Meteorites . . . Underwater

Students and a sled named Starfall are on the hunt for underwater meteorites, dropped as a bolide fragmented over Lake Michigan last year.

Illustration of asteroids passing Earth


Paintballs Clarify What Happens When an Asteroid Hits Earth’s Ocean

Coastal waves from mid-sized asteroid impacts might be more like a storm surge than a wall of watery destruction, according to NASA experiments with paintballs.

Saturn's moon Enceladus


Potential Trouble for Life on Icy Moons

A lack of dry land on moons such as Europa and Enceladus might make it difficult to seed oceans with phosphorus, an element essential for life as we know it.

Cannan and Carson Huey-You

People, Places, and Events

11-year-old Astronomer Shines at AAS Meeting

Cannan Huey-You, just 11 years old, impressed professional astronomers this week with his research on a massive intergalactic gas cloud.