A cigar from another star

In Rendezvous with Rama (by Arthur C. Clarke), a mysterious object is discovered passing through the Solar System.  The object has a strange shape — it’s a giant cylinder.  It was discovered by the Spaceguard survey, designed to find objects that might impact Earth (so-called near-Earth objects).  Spoiler alert: the cylinder is a spaceship sent…

The chaotic teenage Solar System

At a Solar System party, in a room full of planets, the asteroid belt is full of angst. And it should be. It’s out of place. It’s wearing a clown outfit but it’s not a costume party. What makes the asteroid belt so different? Well, for one, it’s not just one object like each individual…

Planet Nine from Outer Space!

This post could also be titled: How blogging and social media help make science happen. Here is the story.  Planet Nine was conjectured in late January 2016. In February 2016 I started to think about where Planet Nine may have come from. This led to 3 blog posts, each exploring a different origins story for…