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Pluto's Atmosphere is Billowing Away into Space

Pluto just can’t stop blowing our minds. Not only is it a geologically active world with ice mountains the size of the Rockies and frozen plains of methane and nitrogen, we’ve just learned that Pluto’s atmosphere is pouring away into space. It’s leaving a massive tail of charged plasma in its wake. » 7/18/15 10:00am 7/18/15 10:00am

This Far-Off Solar System Bears a Startling Resemblance to Our Own

An international team of astronomers has detected a planet very similar to Jupiter orbiting at the same distance from a Sun-like star. And because the age and chemical composition of this system is similar to our own, it likely features an inner collection of rocky planets. Call it solar system 2.0. » 7/16/15 9:00am 7/16/15 9:00am

Why It'll Take New Horizons 16 Months to Send Us This Week's Data

Early this morning, NASA rolled out the highest-resolution image of Pluto to date, taken 16 hours before today’s historic flyby. Tomorrow, we’ll receive a new set of images at a resolution ten times higher. And Pluto Christmas is just getting started, because it’s going to take NASA 16 full months to download all the… » 7/14/15 8:59pm 7/14/15 8:59pm

When We Discovered Pluto, It Changed How We Saw The Solar System

On the 23rd and 24th of January, 1930, a young astronomer working in Flagstaff, Arizona, scanned a small patch of the night sky. He was taking pictures of star positions, looking for anomalies that would signal movement somewhere at the edge of the solar system. He took the pictures then set them aside, not realizing… » 7/12/15 12:00pm 7/12/15 12:00pm

This Shower of Gamma Rays Is from a Flaring Blazar 5 Billion Years Ago

Five billion years ago, a blazar abruptly flared, triggered an intense rain of gamma rays. Racing across the universe for millennia, they finally slammed into NASA’s Fermi satellite over several days this June, setting a new record for the most luminous high-energy object we’ve ever seen. » 7/11/15 1:39pm 7/11/15 1:39pm