Why you should care about the New Horizons probe nearing Pluto

The Wire May 29, 2015 47 days 23 hours 39 minutes! — Alex Parker (@Alex_Parker) May 27, 2015 Alex Parker is a planetary astronomer at the Southwest Research Institute, Texas, and he posted his tweet just as I started writing this piece. And not just for Parker – it’s an exciting time for everyone, an exhilarating period in … Read more

For planets, one thing leads to another

One of the biggest benefits of being a journalist is that you become aware of interesting things from various fields. As a science journalist, the ambit is narrowed but the interestingness, not at all. And one of the most interesting things I’ve come across is a relationship between the rate at which planets rotate – … Read more

Studying our primal horizons at the Kuiper belt

In August this year, the New Horizons spacecraft will cross into the region of space beyond Neptune’s orbit. It won’t be the first human object to go this far: the two Voyager space probes have already done that, and then Pioneer 10 with them. What will be special about New Horizons is that it’ll be the only … Read more

The secrets of how planets form

Astronomers who were measuring the length of one day on an exoplanet for the first time were in for a surprise: it was shorter than any planet’s in the Solar System. Beta Pictoris b, orbiting the star Beta Pictoris, has a sunrise every eight hours. On Jupiter, there’s one once every 10 hours; on Earth, … Read more