TL;DR: Most giant planets form in a bottom-up way, by first growing large cores and then piling gas on top. They migrate throughout their formation. Jupiter may have protected Earth from migrating ice giants. … More Growth and migration of the giant planets
The TL;DR version of this post: the Sun formed in a cluster of about 1000 stars. The Sun’s gas-dominated disk disappeared in a few million years, about the same timescale as the cluster’s dispersal. … More The Sun’s birth cluster and planet-forming disk
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
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!)
This post is an adventure in world-building. I use N-body simulations to find orbital configurations of planetary systems that (I think) are completely new, pretty awesome and unexpected. It involves cohorts of co-orbital planets… … More Cohorts of co-orbital planets
Welcome to Real-life Sci-fi worlds. We are using science to explore life-bearing worlds that are the settings for science fiction stories. Up today: an Earth-like planet orbiting a brown dwarf. Setting Planets have been found orbiting all kinds of stars. Stars like the Sun. Stars brighter and fainter than the Sun. Giant stars. Planets have … More Real-life sci-fi world #4: Earth around a brown dwarf
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
I discovered something spectacular completely by accident. I was getting ready for the announcement of the discovery of the extra-solar planet Kepler-186 f. You remember, the Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone? It was all over the news (even in French) just a couple months ago. I made an animation of the Kepler-186 system. The … More Something amazing will happen on June 15th but no one on Earth will see it
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