Astronomy and planetary science

Astronomy and planetary science are the study of objects and phenomena that occur beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. This includes investigating stars and their interaction with each other and the planetary systems that orbit them.

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Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    High-spatial-resolution images of the bright points at Occator crater on Ceres, taken during the second extended Dawn mission, allowed reconstruction of the chronology of their formation. The area experienced extensive cryovolcanism less than nine million years ago that lasted several million years, indicating recent geological activity.

    • A. Nathues
    • , N. Schmedemann
    • , G. Thangjam
    • , J. H. Pasckert
    • , K. Mengel
    • , J. Castillo-Rogez
    • , E. A. Cloutis
    • , H. Hiesinger
    • , M. Hoffmann
    • , L. Le Corre
    • , J.-Y. Li
    • , C. Pieters
    • , C. A. Raymond
    • , V. Reddy
    • , O. Ruesch
    •  & D. A. Williams
    Nature Astronomy 4, 794-801
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Dawn mission’s second extended phase provided high resolution observations of Occator crater of the dwarf planet Ceres. Here, the authors show stereo imaging and topographic maps of this crater revealing the influence of crustal composition on impact related melt and hydrothermal processes, and compare features to those on Mars, Earth and the Moon.

    • P. Schenk
    • , J. Scully
    • , D. Buczkowski
    • , H. Sizemore
    • , B. Schmidt
    • , C. Pieters
    • , A. Neesemann
    • , D. O’Brien
    • , S. Marchi
    • , D. Williams
    • , A. Nathues
    • , M. De Sanctis
    • , F. Tosi
    • , C. T. Russell
    • , J. Castillo-Rogez
    •  & C. Raymond
  • Research
    | Open Access

    In anoxic environments, soluble hexavalent uranium is reduced and immobilized, however, the underlying molecular-scale reduction mechanism remains unknown. Here, the authors find that U reduction can occur on the surface of magnetite via transient U nanowire structures which collapse into ordered UO2 nanoclusters, which may have implications for understanding nuclear waste evolution and remediation of uranium contamination.

    • Zezhen Pan
    • , Barbora Bártová
    • , Thomas LaGrange
    • , Sergei M. Butorin
    • , Neil C. Hyatt
    • , Martin C. Stennett
    • , Kristina O. Kvashnina
    •  & Rizlan Bernier-Latmani
  • Research |

    High-resolution data of Ceres’s bright spots (faculae), obtained by Dawn’s second extended mission, suggest the existence of a deep brine-rich reservoir that emerged to the surface through long-lived cryovolcanic activity as a consequence of the impact that created Occator crater.

    • C. A. Raymond
    • , A. I. Ermakov
    • , J. C. Castillo-Rogez
    • , S. Marchi
    • , B. C. Johnson
    • , M. A. Hesse
    • , J. E. C. Scully
    • , D. L. Buczkowski
    • , H. G. Sizemore
    • , P. M. Schenk
    • , A. Nathues
    • , R. S. Park
    • , T. H. Prettyman
    • , L. C. Quick
    • , J. T. Keane
    • , M. D. Rayman
    •  & C. T. Russell
    Nature Astronomy 4, 741-747
  • Research |

    Arctic climate in the Last Interglacial (LIG)—a warm period 130,000–116,000 years ago—is poorly simulated by modern climate models. A model with improved sea-ice melt-pond physics reproduces LIG Arctic temperatures, suggests an ice-free Arctic during this period and predicts the same by 2035.

    • Maria-Vittoria Guarino
    • , Louise C. Sime
    • , David Schröeder
    • , Irene Malmierca-Vallet
    • , Erica Rosenblum
    • , Mark Ringer
    • , Jeff Ridley
    • , Danny Feltham
    • , Cecilia Bitz
    • , Eric J. Steig
    • , Eric Wolff
    • , Julienne Stroeve
    •  & Alistair Sellar

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