M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

The Trappist Family of Planets has a hard core!

August 2, 2019
MThomas

Trappists

In February of 2017, a team of European astronomers announced the discovery
of a seven-planet system orbiting the nearby star TRAPPIST-1. Aside from
the fact that all seven planets were rocky, there was the added bonus of
three of them orbiting within TRAPPIST-1’s habitable zone. Since that time,
multiple studies have been conducted to determine whether or not any of
these planets could be habitable.

What’s up with the boring names?

I propose we call them Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl. The most habitable is Kurt, because he’s so magnetic.

But the star, of course, is Maria.

Buh-DUM-dum.

Trappist-1
— Read on www.universal-sci.com/headlines/2018/5/5/one-of-the-trappist-1-planets-has-an-iron-core

Vulcan does not exist — but 40 Eridani does

June 13, 2019
MThomas

vulcan

As a kid I remember reading about “Vulcan,” which people used to think existed between Mercury and the Sun but always orbited on the opposite side.

Completely fictional, of course.

But…

Vulcan made a comeback as the fictional home of Spock in Star Trek. It was said by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to be orbiting around 40 Eridani (also called HD 26965), a triple star system in the constellation of Eridanus “the river” in the southern hemisphere just 16 light years distant. In September 2018, astronomers at the University of Florida in Gainesville found a “super-Earth” exoplanet orbiting exactly where Vulcan was said to be.

There is only one logical conclusion…

Spock-Amok

www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2019/05/24/return-of-the-planet-vulcan-how-the-fire-planet-was-destroyed-by-science-and-how-its-been-reborn/

No “Planet McPlanetface” option. Sorry.

April 15, 2019
MThomas

planetoid

The three choices fit IAU naming regulations and are associated with mythological creatures and figures that reflect aspects of 2007 OR10’s physical properties, which include rock, water ice, possibly methane ice, and a surface that’s red in color.

Your three choices?

Gonggong (共工, the bringer of floods 洪 and chaos)

Holle (which I always thought was Hulda or Holda)

Vili (which I knew as Wela in English class)

At least these scientists learned an important lesson from our recent past…

22xp-boaty-articleLarge

Info here: www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/scientists-launch-public-vote-for-the-name-of-a-distant-world/

Vote here: https://2007or10.name

First ever black hole image (not counting Disney)

April 10, 2019
MThomas

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“What we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System,” he said.

“It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is an absolute monster, the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe.”

So this demonstrates two things.

One – Einstein was right (when wasn’t he, at this point).

Two – We need a Disney remake.

MV5BOGEzN2M5YTItZDRkZS00OWMxLTk3MTktZjZkNzExYWRjYjA5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjI4MjA5MzA@._V1_

Calling Christopher Nolan!


www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47873592

New Earth discovered only 70,000 years away

March 24, 2019
MThomas

new-earth-2

Welp, it’s official. NASA announced they have confirmed another “Earth” (really, an “Earth-like planet” simply means it has enough water and is in the right orbit from its star to hypothetically support life).

Too bad it’s 500 light years away, which currently would take us a mere 70,000 years to reach.

But it’s a start…

http://www.scienceinsanity.com/2019/03/its-official-astronomers-have.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR0l7pzDPR1XQvk7Ka4CDZafWuoB6q0RxqTBmb5Yleu0Lx0rAPs3tWKB0sM

Why bother looking for aliens? Because we’re probably not all that smart

March 5, 2019
MThomas

[A]n obvious obstacle to identifying our neighbors is the tendency to limit our imagination to what we already know. But this should not necessarily remain the case in the future.

Frankly, I think it’s high time that somebody invent the warp drive so that the Vulcans will finally notice us.

blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/are-we-really-the-smartest-kid-on-the-cosmic-block/

Barnard’s Star has a Hoth. No Tauntauns, though.

February 12, 2019
MThomas

In their presentation, the researchers jokingly compared the planet to Hoth – the icy planet made famous in one of the “Star Wars” movies, when Luke Skywalker’s steed (a fictional lizard species called a Tauntaun) dies and he must stay warm by burrowing into its intestines.

Yay, science. And only six light years away!

Which, since Alpha Centauri at four light years away only takes 137,000 years to get to, would only take…er…just a few ten thousand more years…Hmm…

So when do we invent warp drives?

www.seeker.com/space/newly-found-planet-could-host-primitive-life-study-suggest

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