Category Archives: Planetary Science

Galileo Galilei was the first person to see rings around a planet. He was unable to understand the image in the eyepiece of his simple, though revolutionary, telescope. Was it a triple planet? Were it handles? Much to his surprise, […]

Comets are one of the key components of our Solar System, at least for the Earth’s evolution and humankind point of view. While the inner region of our system was depleted in volatiles due to the high temperatures close to […]

Can you name a polygonal feature in any of the Solar System atmospheres? None? Up to our current knowledge there is only one: Saturn’s Hexagon. Not only it is the one and only of its kind but it is also […]

Curiosity has been studying the surface of Mars since its landing on August 6, 2012, at Gale Crater. One of its primary goals was to determine Mar’s habitability, present or past, as written in the geology of the red planet. […]

Ceres was discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi in the very first day of the XIX century somewhere between Mars and Jupiter orbits. It was once considered the biggest asteroid in the Solar System but the 2006 Pluto demotion resulted in an […]

As a child I was told that Earth’s atmosphere has a number of layers: troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, ionosphere and exosphere (hope I have not forgotten anything in the list!). This looked much like an onion and, to be honest, […]

Much attention has been payed lately to the novice comet C/2012 S1, more widely known as comet ISON. At the crest of the wave, it was even said that the integrated brightness of the comet after the perihelion could exceed […]

Even though the Kepler mission stopped working in May 2013, the data provided by this extremely prolific mission still wonders the scientific community. The mission discovered some 150 planets and proposed more than 3,500 candidates, supplying the basis for a […]

We needed a Big Bang to create lithium, now it seems that it is much easier to destroy. This light element is the center piece of one of the most intriguing astronomical controversies. Can we use the lithium to look […]

Last February I was giving a 101 Astronomy class early in the morning. It was Friday, the 15th. Just by chance, I was talking about the minor bodies of the Solar System when we started speaking about impacts on Earth. […]