Is Planet 9 Out There? Pluto Has Neighbors #Pluto #solarsystem #astronomy

Planet PlutoAbout 3,000 objects, ranging from small asteroids and comets to dwarf planets, orbit our Sun beyond Neptune. Pluto is the one you’re most likely to recognize. Now 139 previously unknown minor planets have been spotted in the outer reaches of the solar system. One could be the hypothetical Planet 9 – a real object that perturbs other orbits, not the silly end-of-the-world theory.

Starting with 7 billion “dots” in the Dark Energy Survey’s data, they wittled the possibilities down to 139. The data manipulation is as amazing as the worlds probably are. We won’t know for a very long time, so enjoy images of Pluto instead.

Dwarf planets aren’t all they found – not even the main goal.

The survey used the 520-megapixel Dark Energy Camera—based at the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile—to record data from more than 300 million galaxies. Newsweek

There may be a lot of objects out there, but space is very big. Pluto isn’t likely to host a block party.

BTW – that was a reference to Planet 9 in outer space, not Plan 9 from Outer Space. lol

SCreen shot from Plan 9 From Outer Space

A guilty pleasure, because it’s a truly terrible movie. My brother and I watch it every time I visit him. My spousal unit thinks we’re nuts.

So That’s What’s Going On! Humans watched for 1,000 years and now we understand (maybe) #solarcycle #space #science #sunspot #solar #planets

Eleven year cycle. If that means something to you, you must be an amateur radio operator, or some other student of the Sun. Here’s an older NASA video that’s still interesting.

Despite the wishes of medieval philosophers, the Sun is not a perfect disk. Sunspots are

regions of reduced surface temperature caused by concentrations of magnetic field flux that inhibit convection… may last anywhere from a few days to a few months…. [and affect] space weather, the state of Earth’s ionosphere, and hence the conditions of short-wave radio propagation or satellite communications. wikipedia

We’ve known for a long time that the frequency of sunspots roughly follows an eleven year cycle, with a lot of variation in intensities and somewhat in durations, but it’s been hard to explain why. A recent study (in Solar Physics, which looks like a real journal – you gotta be careful now-a-days) found a “high level of concordance” between the positions of three planets in their orbits and sunspot activity.

The study examined 90 cycles, which means almost 1,000 years of records. That’s a lot of history and the article I read doesn’t say how reliable ancient records are. But for the last two dozen cycles, we have pretty good data. The cycle seems to align with movements of Venus, Earth, and Jupiter in an 11.07 year cycle.


There are some problems. Sunspot cycles have varied from eight to fourteen years in length, so explaining the average by itself isn’t enough. What about the other planets? When you have a bunch to choose from, any correlation may simply be fortuitous. But I’m curious to know if adding more planets to the model will help or hurt the correlations.

By what mechanism could such a relatively small gravitational force impact our star? Perhaps plasma stability analyses can explain it? The math needs to be done.

My spouse, the ham radio operator in the family, is skeptical. There have been other attempts to explain the sunspot cycle that didn’t pan out. Of course, this hypothesis must be examined further.

But every discovery starts with an observation.

Thanks to for their article.


Earth or the Solar System? Is That Our Choice? #space #science #Bezos

The richest man on Earth asks, “Do we want stasis and rationing or do we want dynamism and growth?”

He offers this as a choice between misery on Earth and prosperity in space. I hope those aren’t the only possibilities- especially since staying on Earth’s my only option.

His colonies will save the Earth, too, by moving all the nasty manufacturing and polluting industries off the planet. He talks about space colonies in the present-tense, as if they existed already. First step – the Moon.

Ultimately, Bezos envisions science-fiction-like rotating space colonies, because low gravity is a problem. He has a point. Low gravity is a lot of problems!

If you don’t aim high, if you don’t start, you’ll never achieve. And I’m glad Bezos doesn’t want to abandon Earth:

Please make no mistake about this, Earth is the best planet. We do need to protect it, it’s essential, it’s our job. We’re now big enough to hurt this planet. We have to use the resources of space.

Perhaps, as seen in a lot of science fiction, it will be fantastically wealthy individuals instead of governments who lead the way into space. If 90% of Earth’s wealth does end up in a few hands (it seems we’re headed that way) I hope they make good plans.

Farther, Colder, Darker Than Sun’s Other Planets, if it’s there… #poem #poetry #solarsystem #space #planet

Orbits of extreme trans-Neptunian objects

Orbits of extreme trans-Neptunian objects

Are objects in the Kuiper Belt
Clustering in truth?
Or is that simply how they seem
Because of how we sleuth?

Bias observational
May lead
analyses astray,
Create this Planet 9 that we
Hypothesize today.

If it’s there,
It’s far away,
And very hard to see,
And yet the theory’s testable
As theories
all must be.

Kate Rauner

There’s an intense international search underway. If Planet 9 is out there, far from the Sun, “it is the solar system’s missing link of planet formation. Over the last decade, surveys of extrasolar planets have revealed that similar-sized planets are very common around other sun-like stars. Planet 9 is going to be the closest thing we will find to a window into the properties of a typical planet of our galaxy.” Not that we’ll get a probe there anytime soon.

Screen shot from Plan 9 From Movie, Outer Space

I’m rhyming about Planet 9 in outer space, Not Plan 9 From Outer Space!

Excuse My Bragging (she blushes modestly) But Woo Hoo! Grab My Top Ranked Scifi Book While It’s Free #scifi

Titan book cover, scifi, colonization

#1 New Release on Amazon in its First Week

Titan – a cult colonizes Saturn’s moon – Woo Hoo – #3 in its Kindle scifi category! And it’s FREE through Feb 16th.

Don’t miss this new release. Are you reading this post after the 16th? Don’t despair. You can read it on Kindle Unlimited. (Or, shoot – just buy it.)

Want to say thanks? Please leave a review. A sentence or two is all it takes to help other readers find me. You’re doing me a big favor 🙂 Thank you 😉

Fynn learns the Kin’s secret when he’s shoved into a stasis pod.

He’s not going back to college, he’s going with his father’s cult to settle on Saturn’s moon Titan.

Halfway across the solar system, cut off from Earth, the Kin believe they’ll create a paradise. But their leader’s bizarre behavior may be more dangerous than the profoundly cold moon with its dense, unbreathable atmosphere.

Scifi Book Titan Ranks #3 in its Kindle Category

I love proving it

UPDATED: it’s December 2019 now, but still a bargain. Get award winning Titan Book 1 and the sequel, only 99 cents each for the Kindle – or read for free on Kindle Unlimited. Click here now!

What Happens When a Cult Colonizes Saturn’s Moon? Looks Like a Crazy Plan #scifi #sciencefiction #solarsystem #Saturn #giftidea

It’s here at last! A year in the writing and editing. I’m going to curl up in a corner with a mug of eggnog, but please… Join other fans today!

Titan opened as a #1 New Release on Amazon! A fleeting honor since there are so many new books on Amazon, but I’m still thrilled.

Fynn learns his father’s secret when he’s shoved into a stasis pod. He’s not going back to college, he’s joining his family’s cult to colonize Saturn’s moon. Get the book on Amazon, Kindle or paperback, or read on Kindle Unlimited and KOLL.

Real readers love it:

This is an amazing sci-fi that I could not put down. Read it all up in one sitting over a weekend – lost a lot of sleep but worth it. Patricia Eroh

I devoured this book in less than two days. cany58

Feel like you were there experiencing some of the accomplishments, frustrations and trials of building their first colony. There is mystery, secrets, and murder; there are characters you will wonder about their agenda. There is a major tragedy. PC

Colossal Jupiter Losing One Genuine Attraction – a hurricane that will not be forgotten #Jupiter #planet #space #poetry #poems

Since the sixteen hundreds
Science inspired poetry by Kate RaunerA giant storm has raged,
Largest in the solar system,
One Jupiter has made.

A swirling gale that could
Swallow our Earth whole.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot
Is known to one and all.

A vortex lasting centuries
Can’t go on forever.
Two hundred years have seen it shrink
By half, in Jove’s great weather.

And still receding slowly,
So in a decade or two,
It could become the Great Red Ring
That memory carries through.

by Kate Rauner

“The GRS [Great Red Spot] will in a decade or two become the GRC (Great Red Circle). Maybe sometime after that the GRM, by which he means the Great Red Memory.”