To celebrate the opening of Avatar 2, I made a series of slides to give a little more astrophysical context to Pandora. And, like the movies, it’s all about the visuals… … More Astrophysics of Pandora, the moon-world from Avatar
The list of factors needed for life to originate on Earth remains uncertain, although water was essential. Earth’s water was likely delivered by planetesimals scattered inward by Jupiter. Yet, ironically, Earth would probably be much wetter with no Jupiter. … More Water delivery and the origin of life on Earth
Just like a doofus with the remote control bouncing between two TV shows, planets can bounce between stars in a binary system… … More Star-hoppers: planets bouncing between binary stars
Here’s something brand new – we made a big splash!
A pile of free-floaters just dropped with a crash!
A hundred new rogue planets! Yup, we just found ‘em
They orbit among stars instead of around ‘em. … More A flock of free-floaters
The time capsule must serve as a beacon. Any other civilization that detects it should immediately suspect that it is of artificial origin. And it needs to survive for countless billions of years. … More A cosmic time capsule
This post starts off with some world-building, jumps into eclipses and moons’ orbits, and finishes with a brand new Kalgash system that Isaac Asimov would be proud of (dropped into darkness every 2000 years!). More than one planet can share the same orbit around a star. This is not big news: the concept of Trojan … More Cohorts of stars orbiting black holes (with planets, moons, and eclipses!)
Welcome to Real-life Sci-fi worlds. I use science to explore life-bearing worlds that are the settings for science fiction stories. Up today: a desert planet like Arrakis from the classic Dune books (and the movie and miniseries). A tribute for author Frank Herbert‘s birthday (a couple days late). Dune is one of the all-time classic … More Real-life sci-fi world #5: a Dune planet (Arrakis)
Welcome to Real-life Sci-fi worlds. We use science to explore life-bearing worlds that are good settings for science fiction. Up today: the hot Eyeball planet. Planets very close to their stars are too hot for life, right? Well, not always! Take the Earth and move it closer and closer to the Sun. It gets hotter … More Real-life Sci-Fi World #2: the Hot Eyeball planet
A desert world with two suns in the sky. The jungle-covered moon of a gas giant planet. A planet completely enveloped in ice. A stormy ocean-covered world. A planet infested with bubbling lava fields. These are the settings for science fiction stories. They paint pictures of other worlds. Where life can exist but things are … More Introducing Real-life Sci-fi Worlds
Giraffes are covered in patches. The patches are brown and the space in between the patches is white. Everyone knows this. Here is something you probably didn’t know: you can see those patches in infrared light. In simple terms, infrared light measures heat (at least at the temperatures we are used to in everyday life). … More Giraffes and planets