‘Oumuamua: a shred of its former self

I once ordered a beer then straight away spilled it all over the bar. There was just a tiny sip left in the glass. Frowny face.

Remember ‘Oumuamua, the weird-shaped rock flying through the Solar System? Just like my sip of beer, it might only be a small piece of what it once was.

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…

Planet Nine: Solar System renegade?

We are discussing the origins of Planet Nine.  In part 1 we explored whether it could have been produced during an orbital instability in the early Solar System.  In part 2 we showed that Planet Nine could have been captured from another star.  Here we will explore another plausible idea that is a little less…

Planet Nine: an intruder among us?

We are discussing the origins of Planet Nine.  In part 1 we explored whether it could have been produced during an orbital instability in the early Solar System.  Here we will explore a much more exotic origin. Scenario 2.  Planet Nine is a planet that formed around another star and was captured by the Sun…