Second chance planets: Iceball worlds that thaw out when their stars go red giant

A while back I wrote a series of posts called How planets die. It was about all the ways planets can be sterilized or destroyed.  I even made a “planetary death scale”.  Gruesome stuff. Let’s liven things up with a new mini-series on Second-Chance Planets. These are planets that get a second chance at life. …

‘Oumuamua: the gift that keeps on giving

Planets and bread may have something in common.  The starter. Some of the best breads use a yeast starter.  A starter is just a small piece of dough from an older batch of bread. The starter provides the yeast for the next batch. Each batch builds on the last one. An essential ingredient for today’s…

‘Oumuamua: was it aliens? (spoiler: no)

Imagine this.  You’re drinking your morning coffee. A small blob zooms at top speed through the kitchen, into the hall and out an open window. You only catch a quick fuzzy glimpse before it’s gone. What was that thing? What’s your first guess? A neighborhood cat? A squirrel? Maybe something more exotic like a raccoon…