Water delivery and the origin of life on Earth

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

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Cohorts of stars orbiting black holes (with planets, moons, and eclipses!)

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!)

Real-life sci-fi world #5: a Dune planet (Arrakis)

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)

Real-life Sci-Fi World #2: the Hot Eyeball planet

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

Giraffes and planets

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

Building the ultimate Solar System part 5: putting the pieces together

We are building the ultimate Solar System.    In Part 1 we chose the right star.  In Part 2 we chose the right planets. In Part 3 we chose the right orbits for the planets.  In Part 4 we learned two ninja moves about how more than one planet/moon can share the same orbit. Today’s … More Building the ultimate Solar System part 5: putting the pieces together