Is Pluto a mega-comet?

Short answer: Well sort of, but it’s more useful to think of it as being built from the same stuff as comets. Like an Uncle of the comets. Read on for an explanation. Earlier this week my wife mentioned a headline she saw.  “Pluto is a giant comet?  Whoa!” It was all over the place:…

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…