Planet IX

Planet IX

Get ready to come up with a new mnemonic for the planets. The orbits of distant objects suggest that there may be something lurking in the outer Solar System as big as Neptune!

Dust Does Not Follow Gas

Dust Does Not Follow Gas

Molecular clouds, where new stars are born, are made of two components: gas and dust. The gas is mostly hydrogen, and the dust is made of elements crucial for forming planets and people, like silicon and carbon. Today’s paper shows that these two components behave very differently in a simulated molecular cloud. This could have exciting consequences for the growth of dust and the formation of stars and planets.

Exoplanet masses, probably

Exoplanet masses, probably

Thousands of transiting exoplanets have been discovered, but for most of these planets we only know their radius and nothing about their mass. With a mass-radius relation, we can infer the masses of all these planets. This paper provides a new, probabilistic mass-radius relation for small planets, and its approach is somewhat unusual…

Plutonian craters to be named after Star Trek characters

Plutonian craters to be named after Star Trek characters

In July of this year (2015), NASA’s New Horizons mission will fly past Pluto and its moons. It will map the surface of the Plutonian system in unprecedented detail, revealing craters and other surface features for the first time. In preparation for the deluge of newly discovered craters, mountains, crevasses and other surface features, Mamajek et al. discuss a naming system for Pluto and its moons.