It is true that a star can turn into a planet, but the star has to be a brown dwarf. There are multiple different types of star, all having different properties, but in order for a star to become a planet, it would have to have been a brown dwarf star.Brown dwarfs are stars?Normally, stars … Read more Can a star turn into a planet?
Thanks to gravity, the earth does fall. It is actually in a constant state of falling since it is in orbit around the sun. This gravitational pull that the sun has on the earth is useful since it stops earth from catapulting into space. Gravity means that objects are not just drawn to the thing … Read more Why doesn’t the earth ever fall down?
The truth is, the planets in our solar system never actually line up perfectly. This is something that we think should happen because a lot of the artwork surrounding the solar system sees all of the planets in a perfectly straight line that is just not achievable for our solar system. We are led to … Read more When do the planets in our solar system all line up?
Light travels about 186,000 miles/sec. in a vacuum. Why this speed, and not some other speed? This is a great, simple, question that touches the heart of modern physics. The simple answer is that we don’t know. The speed of light, c, is one of the “constants of the Universe” that we can measure, that … Read more Why is light traveling at the specific speed of 186,000 miles/sec?
Would the constellations we see from Earth look any different from other planets in our solar system? In other words, would the “Big Dipper” still be recognizable as such? Great question! The stars that we see and that make up the constellations are distributed in three dimensions more like blueberries in a muffin than like … Read more Would the constellations we see from Earth look any different from other planets in our solar system?
Given the recent discovery of the presence of liquid water on Mars, how likely do you think the possibility of terraforming is? (I know that part’s open-ended, but stick with me.) Can you postulate a method to begin colonization and terraforming simultaneously, or would humans have to wait the (presumed) hundreds—if not thousands—of years for … Read more Is it possible to colonize and terraform Mars at the same time?
Is Pluto still a planet? How can astronomers decide if Pluto is or not a planet? Thank you for your question. It is one that often comes up, and hopefully my response will clarify Pluto’s status. The short answer is no, Pluto is no longer a planet. It is now classified as a type of … Read more Is Pluto still a planet?
Approximately how long does it take for a planet to be born? Is a planet currently forming and if there is, what is its name? To answer how long it takes for planets to form, we first need to have a look at how planets are formed. The formation of planets is very closely related … Read more How long does it take for a planet to be born?
Is it true that there is a policy to not send probes anywhere that conditions might support life? To my knowledge, there is no policy that explicitly prohibits sending a probe to potentially habitable extraterrestrial environments. Mars is a prime example, and probes have been sent there for decades now. It will be something similar … Read more Is there is a policy to not send probes anywhere that conditions might support life?
Is Jupiter a failed star? I study how stars and planets form, which is a big part of the ways that Jupiter both is and isn’t like a star. We can consider Jupiter to look somewhat like a “failed star” because it actually has a chemical composition that is very similar to the Sun. Jupiter … Read more Is Jupiter a failed star?