Cohorts of co-orbital planets

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

Real-life sci-fi world #4: Earth around a brown dwarf

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

Something amazing will happen on June 15th but no one on Earth will see it

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

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

Building the ultimate Solar System part 4: two ninja moves — moons and co-orbital planets

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. Today’s job: Discovering two ninja moves that will allow us to pack way more worlds in the habitable zone. The … More Building the ultimate Solar System part 4: two ninja moves — moons and co-orbital planets

Building the ultimate Solar System part 3: choosing the planets’ orbits

We are building the ultimate Solar System.    In Part 1 we chose the right star.  In Part 2 we chose the right planets. Today’s job: choosing the right orbits for the planets. Let’s get started.  Our goal is simple.  We want to pack as many planets into our star’s habitable zone as possible.  We … More Building the ultimate Solar System part 3: choosing the planets’ orbits

Building the ultimate Solar System part 2: choosing the right planets

We are building the ultimate Solar System.    In Part 1 we chose the right star. Today’s job: choosing the right planets to put in our ultimate Solar System.  Let’s stick to two defining characteristics: a planet’s size (or mass) and its composition. We want Goldilocks-ish planets.  They shouldn’t be too small, too big, too … More Building the ultimate Solar System part 2: choosing the right planets

Building the ultimate Solar System part 1: choosing the right star

We are building the ultimate Solar System.  Here is an introduction to the game.    What kind of star will anchor our ultimate Solar System? It comes down to two choices: stars like the Sun or cooler, redder stars sometimes called “cool stars” or “red dwarfs”. Why not stars bigger than the Sun?  Because they … More Building the ultimate Solar System part 1: choosing the right star