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Writer Fuel: Is it Jupiter’s Fault We have the Moon?

Humans and the Moon - deposit photos

It would appear that the so-called “great instability” event that wreaked chaos among the planets, sending the gas giants careening through space until they settled into the orbits we know today, occurred between 60 and 100 million years after the birth of the solar system. This is the conclusion of some careful scientific detective work … Read more

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WRITER FUEL: Where Does the Solar System End?

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The solar system is an enormous place. Our cosmic neighborhood includes eight planets, around half a dozen dwarf planets, several hundred moons and millions of asteroids and comets, all spinning around the sun — and in many cases each other —at speeds of thousands of miles per hour, like a giant top. But where does … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Why Aren’t All Orbits Circular?

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Many maps of the solar system make it look as though everything in space moves in perfect, concentric circles. Planets orbit the sun, and moons orbit the planets. So that must be the case for everything in space, right? Not quite. Orbits form all sorts of shapes. “Planets and other bodies rarely go around in … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Mars May Affect Our Climate – Every 2.4 Million Years

Mars - Deposit Photos

Mars’ gravitational pull on Earth may be influencing the climate on our planet, new research hints. Geological evidence tracing back more than 65 million years and taken from hundreds of sites across the world suggests that deep-sea currents have repeatedly gone through periods of being either stronger or weaker. This happens every 2.4 million years … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Passing Stars May Have Altered Earth’s Orbit – And Climate – Many Times

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Earth’s present-day climate change is human-induced, but the gravitational tugs of other planets can also cause long-term climatic patterns by slightly changing our planet’s orbit. Now, research suggests that massive passing stars can alter Earth’s path, too — and that these cosmic tugs may limit researchers’ ability to study the links between past changes in … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Scientists Narrow In On Location of Possible “Planet Nine”

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Scientists have narrowed down the likely hiding place of the elusive “Planet Nine,” after ruling out more than three-quarters of the hypothetical world’s suspected orbital pathway. In a new study, the researchers — who have been looking for the planet for almost a decade — said they believe they could find the elusive world in … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Are Tiny Black Holes Altering the Earth’s Orbit?

runaway black hole

Some of the universe’s oldest black holes swoop past our cosmic neighborhood at least once every decade, moving planets in their wake, a new study suggests. And if scientists can detect them, it would provide the first proof that these black holes exist as dark matter. Black holes, regions of immense gravity that even trap … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Is There an Undiscovered Ice World Out in the Oort Cloud?

ice world - deposit photos

In 1906, astronomer and businessman Percival Lowell launched a search for “Planet X,” a hypothetical giant planet orbiting the sun beyond Neptune. Lowell was convinced that Planet X existed based on some supposed irregularities he had observed in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus. His belief eventually led to the discovery of Pluto in 1930, … Read more

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Writer Fuel” How We Might Find Planet Nine (If It Exists)

Planet Nine - deposit photos

The elusive “Planet Nine,” which may or may not lurk in the outer reaches of the solar system, could be surrounded by a small swarm of potential moons, a new study reveals. What’s more, these moons could be the key to finding the missing planet. Planet Nine, if it exists, lurks beyond the orbit of … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Does a Reversal of the Sun’s Magnetic Field Cause Solar Wind?

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Scientists have captured the first direct evidence of the sun’s magnetic field quickly switching directions, which could help explain the mysterious force that flings particles across our solar system. The researchers observed the phenomenon using the Solar Orbiter probe, which was developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and is jointly run with NASA. The … Read more