Super-Earths: breaking the (resonant) chains!

Systems of super-Earths may form as long resonant chains, most of which go unstable.


Real-life sci-fi world #6: Pandora (from the movie Avatar), the habitable moon of a gas giant planet

Welcome to Real-life Sci-fi worlds.  I use science to explore life-bearing worlds that are the settings for science fiction stories.  Up today: can the moon of a gas giant planet — like Pandora from the movie Avatar — really be habitable? Pandora is one of the coolest-ever settings for a science fiction story.  The life-bearing…

Carnival mirrors and “normal” planets

Carnival mirrors.  They make you look…. different.  Here’s what my son Zack looks like with one carnival-mirror effect on my computer. If every planet we saw was reflected in carnival mirrors, how would we figure out what the planets really look like?  It turns out this is how it actually works!  Every time we detect…