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)
A while back I wrote a series of posts called How planets die. It was about all the ways planets can be sterilized or destroyed. I even made a “planetary death scale”. Gruesome stuff. Let’s liven things up with a new mini-series on Second-Chance Planets. These are planets that get a second chance at life. … More Second chance planets: Iceball worlds that thaw out when their stars go red giant
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
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
Gas giants have murdered rocky planets (or their building blocks) around ~5 billion stars in our galaxy! (Usually by dropping them onto their Suns!). … More How planets die: When good Jupiters go bad