ALMA’s best image of a protoplanetary disc to date. This picture of the nearby young star TW Hydrae reveals the classic rings and gaps that signify planets are in formation in this system. Credit: S. Andrews (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA); B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

ALMA Reveals Planets Forming Right Before Our Eyes

TW Hydrae is a special star. Located 175 light years from Earth in the constellation Hydra the Water Snake, it sits at the center of a dense disk of gas and dust that astronomers think resembles our solar system when it was just 10 million years old. The disk is incredibly clear in images made using the Atacama…
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View facing south tomorrow Saturday morning Jan. 23 as seen from Minneapolis, Minn. and other locations in the northern half of the U.S. All the planets lie along the ecliptic, the plane of Earth's orbit. Stellarium

See All Five Planets Line Up At Dawn!

To listen to the TV news you’d think the well-publicized planetary lineup is pretty much over. The good news is that this visual treat has just begun. Jupiter, Venus and Mars have been trolling the morning sky for months. A few weeks ago, they were joined by Saturn, emerging low in the southeastern sky at…
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With this pane of 16 Forever stamps, the Postal Service showcases some of the more visually compelling historic, full-disk images of the planets obtained during the last half-century of space exploration. Eight new colorful Forever stamps, each shown twice, feature Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Some show the planets’ “true color” — what one might see if traveling through space. Others use colors to represent and visualize certain features of a planet based in imaging data. Still others use the near-infrared spectrum to show things that cannot be seen by the human eye.
Credits: USPS/Antonio Alcalá © 2016 USPS

Your Favorite Planet May Soon Turn Up In The Mail

The U.S. Postal Service recently sneak-previewed a new series of stamps this year highlighting NASA’s Planetary Science program, including a do-over of a famous Pluto stamp commemorating the New Horizons’ historic 2015 flyby and more. Watch for eight new colorful Forever stamps of NASA images of solar system planets, a Global Forever stamp dedicated to Earth’s…
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In this very wide view of the sky that spans from east to west, we see the full moon just coming in the east as Mercury drops into the southwest. Source:   Sterllarium

Please Give A Warm Welcome To Mercury And Jupiter

Merry Christmas, seasons greetings and all good things to you today! I hope you’re spending time with family and friends opening gifts or sharing a great meal. If the sky should clear tonight, you already know about watching for the full moon, but I’ve got some more good news today: after a long hiatus, not one…
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Thank Your Lucky Stars Earth’s An Old Soul

Earth came early to the planet party. According to a new study, when our solar system was born 4.6 billion years ago only 8% of the potentially habitable planets were around. So say scientists after studying data collected by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Kepler space observatory, which has discovered over 1,000 confirmed exoplanets. But the universe’s best planet-making…
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