Isaac Asimov‘s sci-fi stories are one reason I wanted to become an astronomer (I talked about this in a recent interview). So I’m a little sad to shoot down a classic…. Nightfall is a classic Asimov story (and later, novel). The residents of a planet called Kalgash live in system of six stars that leaves … More Real-life Sci-Fi world 11: Kalgash, a planet in permanent daytime (from Asimov’s Nightfall)
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. … More ‘Oumuamua: a shred of its former self
Gas giants are the bullies of planetary systems. They are hundreds of times more massive than small rocky or icy worlds, so when gas giants throw a tantrum, their whole planetary system feels it. Giant planet moons are among the innocent bystanders swept up in the chaos. Giant planets around other stars have different orbits … More Exo-moons: Innocent bystanders during gas giant instabilities
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 … More A cigar from another star
The asteroids may be cosmic refugees, ejected from their homes to wander the Solar System, eventually settling in the asteroid belt. … More The asteroid belt: a cosmic refugee camp?
Imagine a dry Earth. No waterfalls. No oceans. No beer (or people to drink it). A sad place. Water is pretty important stuff. In this post we will go deep into how Earth got its water (much deeper than in this post from a while back). And since it’s connected with how Earth formed, our … More Where did Earth’s (and the asteroid belt’s) water come from?
I always thought that only 2 or 3 planets could share the same orbit. I was wrong. And it changes everything (for a super-advanced civilization, anyway). … More The Ultimate Engineered Solar System
I stumbled upon a simple way to tighten up the Ultimate Solar System. And by stumbled upon, I mean I discovered that someone else had figured it out. And I took it. … More The Ultimate Retrograde Solar System
Systems of super-Earths may form as long resonant chains, most of which go unstable. … More Super-Earths: breaking the (resonant) chains!
Wake up now people, I’ve got some big news! You won’t want to miss this. You don’t want to snooze. We just found some planets while we were stargazing Gather ’round, listen up. These ones are amazing! And it’s not just one new planet. There are seven! All orbiting one star up there in the … More Ode to 7 orbs