Outer solar system

  • Astronomers have discovered a fourth moon orbiting the dwarf planet Pluto. Studying icy dwarfs like Pluto can help astrobiologists understand the diversity of worlds that might exist throughout the Universe.
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  • On July 11, 2011, Neptune made its first full orbit of the Sun since its discovery in 1846.
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  • By tracking atmospheric features on Neptune, scientists have determined the planet's rotation. It is the first time that such a feat has been achieved for a gas planet in our solar system other than Jupiter.
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  • By tracking atmospheric features on Neptune, scientists have determined the planet's rotation. It is the first time that such a feat has been achieved for a gas planet in our solar system other than Jupiter.
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  • A new website allows the public to discover Kuiper Belt objects in the outer solar system. This region of space holds many mysteries for astrobiologists. Objects from the Kuiper Belt could have played a role in life's origins, and may have caused major impact events
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  • New calculations indicate that NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft will leave the Solar System earlier than previously thought.
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  • NASA's Voyager spacecraft has discovered that the edge of our solar system may be filled with a turbulent sea of magnetic bubbles.
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  • A new study shows that the dwarf planet Haumea and one of its satellites are covered in water-ice due to tidal forces between them and the heat of radiogenic elements.
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  • More than 30 years after they left Earth, NASA's twin Voyager probes are now returning data from the edge of the Solar System. With each passing day they are beaming back a message that, to scientists, is both unsettling and thrilling.
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  • Astronomers have discovered carbon monoxide gas in the atmosphere of Pluto. Pluto is the only 'dwarf planet' known to have an atmosphere, and it appears that it may have grown in size over the last decade.
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