Make Way for Niku

Listen 00:08:26

This week: Scientists have discovered another solar system member. Niku, a chunk of ice 124 miles in diameter, has been discovered out beyond Neptune. Its size doesn’t make it very interesting, nor does its composition, but its orbit does make it interesting. It orbits 110 degrees from the rest of the solar system’s orbital plane and it orbits backwards – opposite the direction of all the other planets. As strange as that sounds, Niku is not alone. Other Trans-Neptunian Objects show similar orbital characteristics of high-inclination and clockwise orbits.
Plus, plan now for a total solar eclipse next August !

Night sky highlights this week: At sunset – Jupiter and Venus low in the west, Saturn, Mars, Antares right on top of each other.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.