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3 June 2016

In December of 2017 the near earth asteroid Phaethon will pass close to the orbit of the Earth (18 months from now) coming within 10 million miles and opening up an opportunity for scientists to study it. They are already preparing research aims and deciding on the equipment for observation – see http://phys.org/print383808842.html

Meanwhile, the Juno spacecraft, launched five years ago, is now within the gravitational pull of Jupiter and will orbit the planet later in the year, programmed to circle it some 37 times and coming as close as 5000km – see http://phys.org/print383798587.html

Over at http://phys.org/print383812804.html … we have water on the Moon which is also the theme at http://phys.org/print383932088.html .. and the idea that water was introduced to the moon by asteroids.

At http://phys.org/print383813424.html … the question is asked – what is the coldest planet in the solar system? As a rule the farther one ventures from the Sun the colder it should become (the mainstream position that has persevered for a long time now). Pluto is now excluded as it has lost its title of planet and therefore the mantle has passed to Neptune. The axial tilt of Neptune is similar to that of the Earth and of Mars and therefore experiences the seasons. However, it has a long orbital period around the Sun as it is further away and so the seasons last for much longer – years rather than months. Astronomers claim to be able to calculate the temperature of Neptune and surprisingly it is about the same as Uranus, a planet much closer to the Sun. Neptune's atmosphere is stormy suggesting there is a lot of energy within the system. Is this why it is not as cold as once thought?

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