Mysterious Dark Spot Discovered on Neptune

by Theodore B. Morrison, age 13

There are many mysteries surrounding the planet Neptune, but one in particular has sparked interest in the scientific community: a storm whose actions are still puzzling scientists.

A storm was first observed in 1989 by the Voyager 2 (currently the only spacecraft to reach Neptune). This storm had a companion storm that was smaller and was nicknamed “Scooter.” When the Hubble telescope was launched in 1993, scientists were once again able to see storms on Neptune. In 2018 another storm nicknamed “Dark Spot” was spotted traveling towards the equator of Neptune, but then in January of 2020 it changed directions heading north. At the same time, a smaller companion storm nicknamed “Dark Spot Jr.” was observed.

The Dark Spot is 4,600 miles across, which is larger than the Atlantic Ocean. These storms on Neptune are observed to last 2-5 years, which is short in comparison to storms on other distant planets. Scientists find Neptune’s storms hard to study due to their relatively short duration. [read more]

NASA Scientists Find New Evidence of Water on the Moon

by Makya Rodriguez, age 15

NASA scientists have now concluded that more water exists on the moon than previously believed. Using a satellite orbiting the moon, NASA has confirmed that there is water on both the sunlit and shadowed parts of the moon.

This information may help advance future lunar missions. “If we're right, water is going to be more accessible for drinking water, for rocket fuel, everything that NASA needs water for” said scientist Paul Hayne, who led the study.

The study was conducted using an aircraft called SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), which carries a 2.7 meter telescope. [read more]

Space: Our New Habitat

by Sandy Flores, age 13

Did you know that one day Earth may no longer be habitable?

If this becomes a reality, people will have to learn how to adapt to life in outer space. Scientists are envisioning what is needed to live in space. Humans will have to learn how to do this since Earth will no longer have the capacity to hold them. Most of humanity would die if this happened. The survivors who remain alive will have to learn how to adapt to life in a capsule.

In these space capsule colonies there will be food, air, water, and some artificial “gravity.” There will need to be enough soil to grow crops. Oxygen will still be available because there would be trees planted in the human space capsules that will absorb our carbon dioxide and release oxygen that we could use. [read more]

How Climate Change Affects the Poles

by Felix Berkelman, age 14

Although one might think the Arctic and Antarctic seem basically the same climate wise, they are actually noticeably different. Likewise, they are also affected differently by climate change. Both areas have melting ice, however the two poles have it for a different reason.

The main reason for the difference in climate is the positioning of land around the poles. The North Pole consists of an ocean surrounded by land, while the South Pole is the opposite, a land mass surrounded by ocean. Although this detail may seem meaningless, it actually has a drastic effect on the temperature of the poles.

The Southern Ocean is the only place where there is a ring of ocean, unbroken by land, surrounding the earth. This causes ocean currents to circle Antarctica in what is known as the Circumpolar Current. This current is one of the strongest in the world, and causes massive waves in the Southern Ocean. These waves make countries like South Africa and New Zealand ideal for surfing, but make reaching Antarctica a difficult ordeal. The Circumpolar Current also insulates the continent from warmer air farther north, making it much colder than the Arctic. [read more]

The Unsolved Mysteries of Saturn's 'Raining' Rings

by Sarah Thomson, age 13

Saturn's thick rings, which make it so unique in the Solar System, are not permanent. According to data first gathered from Earth-based observations, a phenomenon called “ring rain” pulls material from Saturn's rings into the planet. Subsequent data from the Cassini spacecraft shows even more inflow going from the rings to the planet. Combined these mean Saturn's rings could be gone in as little as 100 million years: not long in terms of the Solar System.

Ring rain is caused by Saturn's gravitational pull on its rings. One theory of why this is that relatively recently a comet may have destabilized the rings, making them more vulnerable to being pulled in. Another is that the innermost ring, called the D ring, pulls in material from the outer rings, allowing it to exist for so long despite the rapid rate of its depletion from ring rain. While ring rain was originally thought to be made of mostly water, like the rings are themselves, data from the Cassini spacecraft puzzlingly shows that water makes up only 24 percent of the falling rain. Other molecules in the rain include organic material, methane, carbon monoxide, and dinitrogen. A lot about ring rain is not yet certain. [read more]

U.F.O. Sightings More Common In Western States

by Armani Stovall, age 12

Have you ever heard of or experienced a U.F.O. sighting? Cheryl Costa and Linda Miller Costa, authors of “U.F.O. Sightings Desk Reference,” do believe U.F.O.'s are real. They say that there have been so many sightings that they cannot be fake. Studies show that most sightings happen in the summer in the western states of the USA, such as California.

What would it be like to be one of the people who saw a U.F.O.? Imagine how a man in Tribeca, a neighborhood in New York City reacted to seeing a U.F.O. It happened on September 17, 2011. He was on a roof at the New Museum in New York. In a split second he saw a diamond-shaped object with lights that lit up the sky. He came to the conclusion that it was a U.F.O. [read more]

More Space Science Articles

There are many mysteries surrounding the planet Neptune, but one in particular has sparked interest in the scientific community: a storm whose actions are still puzzling scientists. [read more...]
Although one might think the Arctic and Antarctic seem basically the same climate wise, they are actually noticeably different. Likewise, they are also affected differently by climate change. Both areas have melting ice, however the two poles have it for a different reason. [read more...]
If this becomes a reality, people will have to learn how to adapt to life in outer space. Scientists are envisioning what is needed to live in space. Humans will have to learn how to do this since Earth will no longer have the capacity to hold them. Most of humanity would die if this happened. The survivors who remain alive will have to learn how to adapt to life in a capsule. [read more...]
Saturn's thick rings, which make it so unique in the Solar System, are not permanent. According to data first gathered from Earth-based observations, a phenomenon called “ring rain” pulls material from Saturn's rings into the planet. Subsequent data from the Cassini spacecraft shows even more inflow going from the rings to the planet. Combined these mean Saturn's rings could be gone in as little as 100 million years: not long in terms of the Solar System. [read more...]
Exoplanets are Earth-like planets that orbit outside of our solar system. Cornell astronomers, Lisa Kaltenegger and Jack O’Malley-James, are discovering more about exoplanets one light year at a time. [read more...]
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Have you ever heard of or experienced a U.F.O. sighting? Cheryl Costa and Linda Miller Costa, authors of “U.F.O. Sightings Desk Reference,” do believe U.F.O.'s are real. They say that there have been so many sightings that they cannot be fake. Studies show that most sightings happen in the summer in the western states of the USA, such as California. [read more...]
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