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 … More ‘Oumuamua: the gift that keeps on giving
Just like people, planets are born and they die. We know how people die. But google “how planets die” and you’ll get the wrong answer. … More How planets die
Gas giants are the bullies of planetary systems. They are hundreds of times more massive than small rocky or icy worlds, so when gas giants throw a tantrum, their whole planetary system feels it. Giant planet moons are among the innocent bystanders swept up in the chaos. Giant planets around other stars have different orbits … More Exo-moons: Innocent bystanders during gas giant instabilities
Systems of super-Earths may form as long resonant chains, most of which go unstable. … More Super-Earths: breaking the (resonant) chains!
This planet and star, now, you really should know ‘em.
And that’s why I’m bothering writing this poem. … More Is our closest neighbor an Eyeball planet? A Proxima poem
Carl Sagan famously called Earth the “pale blue dot”. Viewed from a large distance, that is what our complex, vibrant, living planet looks like. In the search for life around other stars, we should be looking for other pale blue dots, right? Maybe not. There is some reason to think that not all habitable planets … More The colors of other worlds
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 … More Real-life sci-fi world #6: Pandora (from the movie Avatar), the habitable moon of a gas giant planet
That spanking new planet’s already a star. K-186 f, you know who you are. You’re making us wonder if we’re all alone. The planet out there in the habitable zone. I’ve been on the radio. Been on TV. Talking ‘bout the planet. Just what can we see? Just what do we know about this special … More Another planet in Kepler-186?
In the spirit of last week’s poetic post, here are two more stanzas for your reading pleasure…. There is a new exoplanet in town. This planet has only just now been found. Why should you care? It’s only one more. Well this is one planet we’d love to explore. This planet’s orbit is really just … More An Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a cool star
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 … More Carnival mirrors and “normal” planets