Some people like to call Jupiter and Saturn the “architects” of the Solar system, as though they had a clear plan for how our system should turn out. Not us. We think of the gas giants as bullies that pushed Earth around and made a lot of decisions for us. … More Behold Jupiter and Saturn, the bullies of our Solar System
This post is an adventure in world-building. I use N-body simulations to find orbital configurations of planetary systems that (I think) are completely new, pretty awesome and unexpected. It involves cohorts of co-orbital planets… … More Cohorts of co-orbital planets
Ceres is Queen of the belt. She’s the best-a.
Her husband is Pallas. Court jester is Vesta.
She makes up a third of the belt on her own
She’s cratered and icy and sits on her throne. … More Asteroids — the poem
To start things off, a limerick: My dear old friend ‘Oumuamua I asked her — What’s up? What is new-ah? “I’ve been thinking of That guy Borisov The interstellar number Two-ah!” Figuring out what’s up with a new population of astronomical objects is like going to a party without knowing the dress code. Here’s what’s … More How Borisov found Borisov (the second interstellar object)
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 … More ‘Oumuamua: was it aliens? (spoiler: no)
A space mission to intercept an Oort cloud comet — or, if we’re lucky, an interstellar object like ‘Oumuamua. … More Comet Interceptor!
Where would we be without the occasional asteroid crashing into the Earth? … More How planets die: pulverized in a deluge of asteroids and comets!
Just like people, stars age. Their planets go along for the ride and are often killed or maimed in the process…. … More How planets die: roasted, toasted and swallowed by their evolving stars!
If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason. — Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey This series is about how planets die — it is introduced here. Earth is a cosmic freaking paradise. Just look at our neighboring planets: … More How planets die: climate catastrophe!
If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, just let them go because, man, they’re gone. — Deep thoughts by Jack Handey This series is about how planets die — it is introduced here. What do you think of when you hear the word tides? Ocean waves? The Moon? Maybe sitting … More How planets die: Fried by tidal volcanoes