We explore & discover

Scientists at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) bring the perspective of several disciplines to broad questions about nature. DTM's name comes from its original role to chart the Earth's magnetic field. This goal was largely accomplished by 1929. Since then, DTM has evolved to reflect the growing multi-disciplinary nature of the Earth, planetary, and astronomical sciences. Today, the historic goal remains to understand the physical Earth and the universe that is our home.

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Upcoming Events

"High Contrast Imaging of Planetary Systems from Space"
John Debes (DTM Weekly Seminar Series)
Thursday, September 8, 2016

"Kepler's discovery of worlds with multiple suns"
Nader Haghighipour (DTM Weekly Seminar Series)
Thursday, September 15, 2016

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Latest articles and news

Hunt for Ninth Planet Reveals New Extremely Distant Solar System Objects

Planet X

In the race to discover a proposed ninth planet in our Solar System, DTM’s Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of Northern Arizona University have observed several never-before-seen objects at extreme distances from the Sun in our Solar System. Sheppard and Trujillo have now submitted their latest discoveries to the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center for official designations. A paper about the discoveries has also been accepted to The Astronomical Journal.

Rocky Planet Found Orbiting Habitable Zone of Nearest Star

Paul Butler

An international team of astronomers including DTM’s Paul Butler has found clear evidence of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System. The new world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface, if it were present. This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us; it may even be the closest possible abode for life beyond our own Sun. A paper describing this milestone finding is published by Nature.

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Image Gallery

DTM scientists regularly explore our planet and the universe. Along the way they capture images of stunning landscapes, geophysical processes and data visualizations.

Browse DTM’s online image gallery to share in the journey of scientific exploration and discovery.

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Planet X

Scott Sheppard and team observe never-before-seen objects at extreme distances from the Sun.

An Epochal Discovery: A habitable planet orbits our neighboring star via The Atlantic.

More from Peter Driscoll about the habitability of Proxima b.