The Sun’s birth cluster and planet-forming disk

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

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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 #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