Solar system

The solar system – a crash birth Space

The solar system – a crash birth

About 4.5 billion years ago, a large cloud of gas and dust collapsed where the solar system is today. Everything that makes up our sun, the planets, moons, asteroids and other celestial bodies in the solar system comes from this cloud. As an international team of researchers led by planetologists from the University of Münster has now discovered, the formation of the entire system took a surprisingly short time: only 200,000 years. The first solids that formed in the solar system can now be found as micrometer to centimeter-sized inclusions in meteorites. The so-called calcium- and aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs)…
Centaurs: they’ve been with us for a long time Space

Centaurs: they’ve been with us for a long time

We’ve been waiting for extraterrestrial visitors our whole lives – but in reality, they’re already here and have been with us for a long time. No, I don’t mean “Men in Black.” But it’s also not science fiction, it’s the truth. When astronomers discovered 2017 1I/ʻOumuamua, their surprise was enormous: we’d never seen an interstellar object inside our Solar System before. Or had we? We had. For some time, astronomers have known about asteroids that don’t orbit the Sun in the same plane as the planets (the ecliptic), but instead on orbits that are at a greater or smaller…
Will our Solar System soon have its sixth dwarf planet? Space

Will our Solar System soon have its sixth dwarf planet?

According to the definition of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), dwarf planets are celestial bodies that do indeed have the round shape of a planet, but do not have sufficient mass to dominate the area around their distance to the Sun. The most well-known example of a dwarf planet is surely Pluto (with a diameter of 2400 kilometers (1490 miles)). Eris, Makemake, and Haumea are three other dwarf planets orbiting in the outer regions of our Solar System. At 950 kilometers (590 miles), Ceres is the largest object in the Asteroid Belt and simultaneously the smallest dwarf planet. But…
At the end of the Solar System, there’s a surprisingly high pressure Astrophysics

At the end of the Solar System, there’s a surprisingly high pressure

Our Sun emits particles and radiation around the clock. These emissions propagate far into space in all directions and form the heliosphere. At the same time, our Solar System is constantly bombarded from interstellar space by cosmic radiation from a wide range of sources. Way out in the far outer edges of our Solar System, a few billion kilometers from the Sun, these streams of radiation meet each other from both directions in the so-called heliosheath. The pressure appears to be significantly higher there than researchers previously thought. This was discovered by astronomers with the help of the two…
New Horizons probe sees the hydrogen wall at the end of the Solar System Space

New Horizons probe sees the hydrogen wall at the end of the Solar System

NASA’s New Horizons probe is on its way to its next destination. Scientists are using the interim time (when the probe is not sleeping) to evaluate the measurements of its instruments. Even before arriving at Pluto, the probe’s ultraviolet telescope might have measured a shadow of the wall of hydrogen that is expected at the outermost limit of our Solar System. (more…)