Solar System Sun
Terrestrial Planet Mercury, Venus, Earth (Moon), Mars
Asteroid Belt Ceres, Vesta
Jovian Planet Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Kuiper Belt Pluto, Haumea, Makemake
Scattered Disc Eris, Sedna, Planet X
Oort Cloud Etc. Scholz’s Star
Small Body Comet, Centaur, Asteroid
These are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma. More…
planet : any of the large bodies that revolve around a star — Webster
Planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that
is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity,
is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and
has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.
The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, astrology, science, mythology, and religion. Several planets in the Solar System can be seen with the naked eye. These were regarded by many early cultures as divine, or as emissaries of deities. As scientific knowledge advanced, human perception of the planets changed, incorporating a number of disparate objects. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially adopted a resolution defining planets within the Solar System. This definition is controversial because it excludes many objects of planetary mass based on where or what they orbit. Although eight of the planetary bodies discovered before 1950 remain “planets” under the modern definition, some celestial bodies, such as Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta (each an object in the solar asteroid belt), and Pluto (the first trans-Neptunian object discovered), that were once considered planets by the scientific community, are no longer viewed as such. — Wikipedia
Dwarf planet is a planetary-mass object that is neither a true planet nor a natural satellite. That is, it is in direct orbit of a star, and is massive enough for its gravity to compress it into a hydrostatically equilibrious shape (usually a spheroid), but has not cleared the neighborhood of other material around its orbit. The term was adopted in 2006 as part of a three-way categorization of bodies orbiting the Sun, brought about by an increase in discoveries of objects farther away from the Sun than Neptune that rivaled Pluto in size, and finally precipitated by the discovery of an even more massive object, Eris. — Wikipedia
Planetary science or, more rarely, planetology, is the scientific study of planets (including Earth), moons, and planetary systems and the processes that form them. It studies objects ranging in size from micrometeoroids to gas giants, aiming to determine their composition, dynamics, formation, interrelations and history. It is a strongly interdisciplinary field, originally growing from astronomy and earth science, but which now incorporates many disciplines, including planetary geology (together with geochemistry and geophysics), cosmochemistry, atmospheric science, oceanography, hydrology, theoretical planetary science, glaciology, and exoplanetology. Allied disciplines include space physics, when concerned with the effects of the Sun on the bodies of the Solar System, and astrobiology. — Wikipedia
Exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet outside the Sun’s solar system. The first evidence of an exoplanet was noted as early as 1917, but was not recognized as such. However, the first scientific detection of an exoplanet was in 1988, although it was not confirmed to be an exoplanet until later in 2012. The first confirmed detection occurred in 1992. As of September 2018, there are 3,823 confirmed planets in 2,860 systems, with 632 systems having more than one planet. — Wikipedia
Exoplanet Exploration: Planets Beyond Our Solar System (NASA)
Exoplanet Data Explorer (Exoplanet.org)
What Is an Exoplanet? (Space Place, NASA)
Extrasolar Planets (Ask an Astronomer, Cornell University)
Extrasolar Systems Internet Resources (Library of Congress)
Extrasolar Systems Internet Resources (Library of Congress)
Extrasolar Planets (Eric Weisstein’s World of Astronomy, Wolfram Research)
Exoplanets (Wolfram Alpha)
Posts on Cosma
- Speleological Wonders (2/8/2019)- A few days ago I came across this short 360° video from the The New York Times about how biologist Naowarat Cheeptham has been searching for antibiotics in a cave. It’s an interesting story, and there’s a lot more about it in this article from Wired. Inside the slimy underground hunt for humanity’s antibiotic saviour … Continue reading Speleological Wonders
- Mars is hard! (11/25/2018)- Update 8:30 PM November 26, 2018 (EST) Touchdown! Mars InSight lander reaches red planet (Alexandra Witze, Nature) NASA’s InSight Mission Triumphantly Touches Down on Mars (Ian O’Neill, Scientific American) InSight has landed with Updates (Emily Lakdawalla, Planetary Society) Landing Replay (SciNews) Original Post If you hear a phrase like “six and a half minutes of … Continue reading Mars is hard!
- Cosma’s Virtual Zoo (11/22/2018)- I’ve been updating the pages on Cosma related to nature for quite awhile. It’s been lots of fun, and I must confess that it probably took longer than it should have. That’s because there are a ridiculous number of great animal videos on YouTube — no surprise, the growing cache of 360° videos are particularly … Continue reading Cosma’s Virtual Zoo
- Get Lost in Space! (9/14/2018)- Way back in August, in anticipation of the start of a new school year, I set out to update the pages on this site related to space. Those pages tend to be popular among the teachers and students who use Cosma, and I happen to enjoy updating them, too. It sounded like a short, fun … Continue reading Get Lost in Space!
- Milky Way Lost & Found (8/15/2018)- Have you seen the Milky Way? You may think that you have, but are you sure? Unless you live in an extremely remote area, or you’ve visited one, then you probably haven’t seen our own galaxy, the Milky Way, very well, or at all. Worse yet, you may not even realize that it’s missing. The … Continue reading Milky Way Lost & Found
- Visioning Spacesteads (8/8/2018)- Space, the final frontier… Humans have been imagining what it would be like to setup homesteads and live in space for about as long as they’ve been imagining how to get there, but the process didn’t really take off until after we actually got there. Back in the 1970’s NASA dedicated some resources to the … Continue reading Visioning Spacesteads
- Exoplanet Junket (6/2/2018)- I’m on a vacation of sorts, so it’s no surprise that stories about travel tend to catch my eye. However, it is surprising if the story happens to be about something that NASA’s done. This week NASA released a new project that they’ve dubbed the Exoplanet Travel Bureau. The core of the project consists of … Continue reading Exoplanet Junket
- Octopuses from Space! (5/20/2018)- Did you hear the one about the octopuses from space? It sounds like the title of a cheesy sci-fi movie, doesn’t it? But it isn’t, this time, or at least, yet. Instead, it’s actually an oddball theory that’s been put forth in a recently published “scientific” article that’s getting quite a lot of buzz in … Continue reading Octopuses from Space!
- Arbornautics (5/7/2018)- Traditional news stories usually cover a single subject or the straightforward relationship between two subjects. However, every once in awhile, a story comes along that crams a deceptive number of subjects and interesting relationships into a tiny space. Exploring stories like that can be an adventure. Here’s a wonderful, five minute clip from Seeker that’s … Continue reading Arbornautics
- Yellowstone, Beauty & Beast (4/30/2018)- If you have been Yellowstone National Park, then you know it is a vast, beautiful place with some fairly odd geologic features that smell bad, like rotten eggs. If you’ve never been there, then you might just have a fairly apocalyptic view of it because of the supervolcano under it that has been featured in … Continue reading Yellowstone, Beauty & Beast
- Great Views of Earth (4/22/2018)- April 22nd is Earth Day! In honor of that, here are some great ways to see the honoree. First, you can get a nice view from this neat 360° Video from Seeker. It essentially shows you what it would feel like if you could just fly straight up and see the Earth from space. National … Continue reading Great Views of Earth
- Perspectives on Earth (11/23/2017)- Last week NASA released this fascinating video entitled Our Living Planet based upon 20 years of data from satellites that observe all plant life at the surface of the land and ocean. You can find out more about the video from this article. The Changing Colors of our Living Planet (NASA) Of course, releasing fantastic … Continue reading Perspectives on Earth
- Around the world in… (10/27/2017)- Once upon a time, way back in the Victorian era a hundred years ago when Jules Verne was writing Around the World in Eighty Days, it took a little while to even vicariously circumnavigate the world by reading about it. These days, thanks to professional video productions from groups like Travel Channel and Lonely Planet, … Continue reading Around the world in…
- NASA’s Excellent Adventures (9/13/2017)- NOTE: This post was updated on the morning of September 15th, see new videos below. NASA is always up to something fascinating. There are so many milestones and discoveries, it’s hard to resist featuring them in every post. However, there are a few events that definitely deserve special attention right now. First, August 20th and … Continue reading NASA’s Excellent Adventures
- Umbraphiles (8/20/2017)- umbraphile : One who loves eclipses, often travelling to see them. — Wiktionary Yes, this is that obligatory post about “The Solar Eclipse” (NASA, Wikipedia). Of course, there had to be one — eclipses really are just too cool to ignore. You’ve already been bombarded with explanations of the science and history of eclipses, but … Continue reading Umbraphiles
- Ring o’ Fire, South (8/15/2017)- Song titles and colloquial terminology aside, you probably have an idea of what scientists mean when they talk about the “Ring of Fire” (National Geographic, Wikipedia). However, even if you do, a bit of review will be useful for this post. Here’s an imaginative 360° Video that provides a top-level introduction. Here’s a more mundane, … Continue reading Ring o’ Fire, South
- Moon+H2O=Moonbase? (7/25/2017)- One of the big science stories in the news right now is that Earth’s Moon has more water than scientists expected. This Newsy video is just one of the hundreds of stories flooding news feeds. This round of stories has been inspired by this article in Nature Geoscience. Remote detection of widespread indigenous water in … Continue reading Moon+H2O=Moonbase?
- Big Berg Born (7/12/2017)- It’s been about nine months since NASA’s IceBridge mission photographed a rift in the Antarctic Peninsula’s Larsen C ice shelf and predicted the imminent birth of a 2,200 square mile, trillion ton iceberg (technically known as “calving“). The media have been reporting on the story ever since, and it’s been interesting to watch the size … Continue reading Big Berg Born
- Twisters! (6/26/2017)- It’s that time of year when tornadoes tend to make the news. For example, did you see the picture of the guy mowing his lawn during a tornado a few weeks ago? He claimed it wasn’t as bad as it looked, but still… Then there was also this 360° Video of a supercell taken by … Continue reading Twisters!
- Doomed? (5/24/2017)- If you’ve been keeping up the slew of dark headlines in the news this week, then you may have seen some stories about how the Svalbard Global “Doomsday” Seed Vault is doomed, or not, according to which story you read. There were some alarmist headlines, but most of the stories were less drastic, while still … Continue reading Doomed?
- Cassini’s Finale (5/1/2017)- The Cassini space probe has got a serious date with Saturn coming up in the Fall on September 15th, but she’s got a very busy schedule between now and then making a series of dives through the space between Saturn and its rings. The first dive of took place last week (Wednesday, April 26th). Here’s … Continue reading Cassini’s Finale
- Born in China (4/20/2017)- Want to see something cute? Check out this 360° YouTube Video (Click & hold to explore)! The video is a trailer for Disney’s Born in China (Disney, IMDb, Wikipedia, Fandango). It is narrated by John Krasinski and opens in theaters on Friday, April 21st as part of Disney’s celebration of Earth Day on April 21st … Continue reading Born in China
- Old Maps, New Ways (3/27/2017)- Here is an interesting story about a “3D virtual tour” of the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library. Boston Public Library map center adds virtual tour (Steve Annear, Boston Globe) Since the Leventhal Map Center isn’t widely known to the general public, here are a couple of videos about it. The “3D tour” … Continue reading Old Maps, New Ways
- Dive in! (3/17/2017)- Take a refreshing dive into this 360° YouTube Video from The Economist. The above is a 360° YouTube video — press and hold to explore! The Economist also created a full Ocean series on Youtube. Of course, while the video is beautiful, the message is sad. Unfortunately, recent news about coral reefs has been even … Continue reading Dive in!
- TRAPPIST-1 (2/23/2017)- You’ve probably heard that NASA has found a trove of “Earth-like” planets circling the TRAPPIST-1 system roughly 40 light years away, but just in case you haven’t, here’s a short 2 minute AP video about the discovery. Here’s another video from NASA/JPL with more explanation. Most entertainingly, here’s a 360° YouTube Video published by NASA/JPL … Continue reading TRAPPIST-1
- Planet Earth II (1/30/2017)- One interesting thing that’s been happening recently is that some television shows are being released with 360º features to go along with them. For example, the BBC created a lovely set of six 360º videos to coincide with episodes in their Planet Earth II (BBC) series. In case you haven’t been watching, the new Planet … Continue reading Planet Earth II
- Virtual Earth (12/4/2016)- Google has just expanded their pantheon of tools to see the World. This time they have created a tool that allows you to browse the Earth in an interactive 360° format. This is designed to work with HTC’s Vive VR Headset, but you can get a fun sense of the experience with this 360° YouTube … Continue reading Virtual Earth
- Mars 3D (11/16/2016)- Mars is getting even more attention than usual this week, and that is “mostly” because National Geographic began airing their special six part Mars series on Monday nights (9/8c). Here’s a trailer and links about it… Virtual Trip to Mars Offers Ultimate Preview to Crewed Mission (Nadia Drake, National Geographic) Inside Nat Geo’s Incredible Documentary … Continue reading Mars 3D
- ExoMars (10/19/2016)- Oct. 21 Update: Unfortunately, the ExoMars mission’s Schiaparelli lander did not make a successful landing due to technical difficulties, and the crash site has been found. Happily, the mother ship did successfully enter orbit. Why Schiaparelli Probe’s Mars ‘Crash Land’ Is No Failure (Mason Peck, Newsweek) Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter views Schiaparelli landing site (ESA) Here’s … Continue reading ExoMars
News from Elsewhere
Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.
The rise and fall of Ziggy star formation and the...
on March 19, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Researchers have detected a radio signal from abundant interstellar dust in MACS0416_Y1, a galaxy 13.2 billion light-years away in the constellation Eridanus. Standard models can't explain this much dust in a galaxy this young, forcing us to rethink the history of star formation. Researchers now think MACS0416_Y1 experienced staggered star formation with two intense starburst periods 300 million and 600 million years after the Big Bang with a quiet phase in between. […]
Image: Saturn at equinox
on March 19, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Saturn is famous for its bright, glorious rings but in this picture, taken during Saturn's 2009 equinox, the rings are cast in a different light as sunlight hits the rings edge-on. […]
Why we need a modern origin story today
on March 19, 2019 at 3:40 pm
If history can help us understand the world we live in, why not teach about the whole of history and the whole of time? That is what big history tries to do. I have been teaching big history courses for almost 30 years. […]
Which habitable zones are the best to actually...
on March 19, 2019 at 3:12 pm
Looking to the future, NASA and other space agencies have high hopes for the field of extra-solar planet research. In the past decade, the number of known exoplanets has reached just shy of 4000, and many more are expected to be found once next-generation telescopes are put into service. And with so many exoplanets to study, research goals have slowly shifted away from the process of discovery and toward characterization. […]
Jupiter's Great Red Spot: A 300-year-old cyclone...
on March 19, 2019 at 2:51 pm
The Great Red Spot, a storm larger than the Earth and powerful enough to tear apart smaller storms that get drawn into it, is one of the most recognizable features in Jupiter's atmosphere and the entire solar system. The counterclockwise-moving storm, an anticyclone, boasts wind speeds as high as 300 miles per hour. This prominent feature, observed since 1830, and possibly as far back as the 1660s, has long been a source of great fascination and scientific study. […]