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Every Planet Surprises Secular Astronomers, II: Outer Planets

"Surprise" or "puzzling" are the most common words in news reports about bodies in the solar system. Here are recent examples that discuss the outer planets.

Two Solar System Surprises

Sometimes we learn more from surprises than predictions.

The Spin on Planets

As the orbs whirl around Sol, human understanding of our space neighborhood rises and falls.

Changing Stories at Saturn and Titan

News from the ringed planet and its largest moon shows scientists can't keep their stories straight when trying to keep Saturn billions of years old.

Saturn's Rings Impacted by Meteoroids

Cassini has observed clouds of dust from meteoroids hitting the rings. The data will "impact" theories of the rings' origin and age.

Bimbo Eruptions in the Solar System

Planetary origin theories come across as popular and charismatic, till some little moon pops off and says, "Yoo-hoo! Remember me?"

Rare Moments of Glory: Planetary Scientists Admit Seeing "Lucky" Circumstances

Why are we seeing young phenomena in the planets if they are billions of years old? Some scientists are abandoning uniformitarian assumptions and admitting we are lucky to be witnessing them in "rare moments of glory."

Astronomy Grab Bag

For year's end, here's a clean-out of astronomy articles—from planetary science to cosmology—to motivate further inquiry.

Saturn Moons Continue to Shine

Saturn just passed opposition on April 15, making it a good viewing object from Earth this season. Amateur observers with telescopes may be able to make out the moons Titan, Rhea, Dione, Iapetus, Tethys, and Enceladus. They may look like beautiful little gems from Earth, but from the Cassini spacecraft in orbit at Saturn, they are no less than astonishing. Recent observations of these moons add to the astonishment.

Are Saturn’s Rings Evolving?

Can ring particles grow into moons? And is that how planets grew from rings around stars?
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