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Saturn Rescues Earth: Outer Planet Wonders

How Saturn saved the Earth, and other news from the ringed planet, its family, and other bodies in the outer solar system.

Comet Lander Working, But Not Optimal

Rosetta's Philae lander hopped twice before landing in the shade in a tilted position, but the instruments are working.

Lunar Impact: Major Moon Basin Was Not a Big Hit

The theory of how the largest impact basin on the moon was formed has been turned upside down.

Of Planets and People

Here's a quick tour of the planets to see what's newsworthy.

Planets Don't Fit Evolutionary Models

Secular planetary scientists are surprised by almost every object they observe in the solar system. Their models cannot reproduce our system of planets.

Planet Rotation Limits Habitability

Life can't exist on a planet that rotates too fast or slow. This is another Goldilocks problem for astrobiologists to consider.

Every Planet Surprises Secular Astronomers, I: Inner 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 inner planets.

The Spin on Planets

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

Venus: 80% of Its History Is Missing

In spite of being called Earth's twin, Venus is vastly different. Scientists are struggling to fit its young surface to 4.5 billion years.

Cosmic Whacks as Creative Forces

Asteroid impacts are some astronomers' answer to everything, except when they are shown to be unworkable.

Extrasolar Planets: Bigger and More Mortal

Many of the stars and planets found by the Kepler spacecraft are not earthlike. Also, astronomers have seen planets destroyed by their stars.

Astronomy Grab Bag

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

Venus Transit Recalls Adventures of Yore

Today's transit of Venus, in which our sister planet appears to cross the disk of the sun, will be the last till 2117. As observatories and millions of people watch the rare planetary alignment, few may know the stories of astronomers who predicted them and explorers who risked life and limb to observe them.

Astronomers Wrestle with "Endless Mysteries"

Some of the biggest questions in the universe remain completely baffling to astronomers, a leading journal admitted.

Tilt-A-World: Another Constraint on Habitability

Did you ever ride a Tilt-A-Whirl, one of those cheap carnival rides that makes you dizzy and sick? Our planet would be like that if its inclination were out of control. Without tilt stability, a new study reveals, we wouldn't be sick, we'd be dead, or never alive in the first place. It's not enough to be in the Habitable Zone. Would-be inhabited planets need to avoid a new problem, called “tilt erosion.”
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