apr 102013
 
Rain is Falling from Saturn’s Rings

  Astronomers using the W. M. Keck Observatory tracked the “rain” of charged water particles into the atmosphere of Saturn and found the extent of the ring-rain is far greater, and falls across larger areas of the planet, than previously thought. The work reveals the rain influences the composition and temperature structure of parts of Saturn’s [continue reading]

jan 292013
 
Venus Behaves Like a Comet

  ESA’s Venus Express has made unique observations of Venus during a period of reduced solar wind pressure, discovering that the planet’s ionosphere balloons out like a comet’s tail on its night-side. The change in ionosphere of Venus during normal solar wind conditions (left) and reduced solar wind activity (right), as observed by ESA’s Venus Express [continue reading]

jul 192012
 
NASA will Study Plasma in Earth's Atmosphere

  Our day-to-day lives exist in what physicists would call an electrically neutral environment. Desks, books, chairs and bodies don’t generally carry electricity and they don’t stick to magnets. But life on Earth is substantially different from, well, almost everywhere else. Beyond Earth’s protective atmosphere and extending all the way through interplanetary space, electrified particles [continue reading]