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Two giant planets collided and astronomers caught the explosion 1,800 light years away

It’s a bit mind-boggling to imagine something as big as the planet Neptune crashing into a similar-sized planet, but astronomers caught this exact scenario, as described in a recent study in the journal Nature. A pair of ice giants — or massive planets the size of Uranus and Neptune, but composed of elements that are heavier than hydrogen and helium — collided into each other as they passed in front of the star they orbit, ASASSN-21qj....

Originally posted on salon.com

Neptune’s strange clouds are disappearing, revealing the weird seasons of the ice giant

The ice-giant Neptune, the most distant and third largest planet in our solar system, is a distinctive dark blue ball of gas, which may appear calm but is actually throttled by a chaotic atmosphere. It’s actually the windiest place in our solar system. Despite earning the label “ice-giant” in part because of its massive size (and also because it is primarily composed of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium), Neptune is far enough away from Earth that our astronomers continue making new discoveries of this enigmatic world....

Originally posted on salon.com