Largest planets likely formed first from icy “planetary pebbles”

20 August 2015 Astronomy Now

Researchers at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Queen’s University in Canada have unravelled the mystery of how Jupiter and Saturn likely formed using computer simulations. The discovery, which changes our view of how all planets might have formed, also suggests that the gas giants in the solar system probably formed before the terrestrial planets.


Scientists solve age-old planetary ring riddle

6 August 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of scientists has solved an age-old scientific riddle by discovering that planetary rings, such as those orbiting Saturn, have a universally similar particle distribution. The study also suggests that Saturn’s rings are essentially in a steady state that does not depend on their history.


Mars meets Neptune in the evening sky

15 January 2015 Ade Ashford

Outermost planet Neptune is currently visible in binoculars if you know just where to look. Fortunately, Mars forms a convenient guide on the night of 19th January as the two planets appear close together in the early evening sky.