This is an intriguing paper which has hit the news, see  Planet Nine Could Doom Our Solar System - If It Exists. If our solar system has a planet in a distant orbit, way beyond Neptune, such as the planet X candidates, it could lead to instability of our solar system far into the future. That's a rather unintuitive result - how could such a distant planet make any difference to our solar system's stability? It's not only intriguing, it might also provide the solution to a major puzzle about white dwarf stars.

The solar system could be thrown into disaster when the sun dies if the mysterious 'Planet Nine' exists, according to Dr. Dimitri Veras in the Department of Physics at University of Warwick, who says he has discovered that the presence of Planet Nine - the hypothetical planet which may exist in the outer Solar System - could cause the elimination of at least one of the giant planets after the sun dies, hurling them out into interstellar space through a sort of 'pinball' effect.

When the sun starts to die in around seven billion years, it will blow away half of its own mass and inflate itself -- swallowing the Earth -- before fading into an ember known as a white dwarf. This mass ejection will push Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune out to what was assumed a safe distance.

Just another short post on Nibiru following on from my recent petition calling for responsible mainstream journalist reporting on "doomsday stories". It's featuring in many mainstream news sites again. Thank goodness one paper, the Independent, has run a straight hoax debunking story on it. "‘Blood moon’ and ‘rogue planet Nibiru’ are on their way to kill us all, conspiracy theorists wrongly claim", kudos to them. Hurrah! It's the first straightforward Nibiru debunking article I've seen in the mainstream newspapers in the last year (since I started writing these articles). I hope this is a start of a new trend.

The Venus Table of the Dresden Codex, an ancient Mayan book containing astronomical data, has been studied for 120 years, with some confusion and accuracy. If you can recall the Mayan calendar Doomsday prophecy, it stated that at the end of a 13th period of 400 years, known as Baktuns, on the equivalent of Dec. 21, 2012, we would see the return of mysterious Mayan god Bolon Yokte.

As a long-time meteor observer, I never lose an occasion to watch the peak of good showers. The problem is that similar occasions have become less frequent in the recent times, due to a busier agenda. 
In the past few days, however, I was at CERN and could afford going out to observe the night sky, so it made sense to spend at least a couple of hours to check on the peak activity of the Perseids, which this year was predicted to be stronger than usual.

I've been writing "doomsday debunking" articles here for a while now, and was surprised to find that some people are terrified by these stories, occasionally suicidal, with hundreds of comments by scared people on my posts here. To help raise awareness of this issue, I've made a petition:  "To: Journalists and lawmakers: Let's End Dramatized Reporting of "Doomsday" Stories - The Vulnerable Get Suicidal".

This is just AWFUL - the worst case of irresponsible journalism I have ever seen. Quite a few on a similar vein today, but including an article in the Telegraph, of all places, and when originally published, the article featured an actual "Count down timer" to the moment when according to the video they publicized, we all die a few hours later, on 29th July.

This is another of my articles to help the many people who come to my science blog saying how scared they are of a planet, which they think is hidden behind the sun and is about to fly past or hit Earth in the near future. What I'm going to describe here is beginner level astronomy, but of course many never study astronomy. Most know that the Earth orbits the sun, nowadays, but few stop to think through what this means for the night sky and where planets can appear in it.

So let's draw out some of those implications, and then, if you are one of those who worry about this, I hope you'll see for yourself why astronomers say the idea is just plain nutty. Maybe after reading this, you will be kicking yourself that you got so scared of such a nutty idea. I hope so, anyway.

According to new work published recently the TRAPPIST-1 planets could have an atmosphere hospitable to life as we know it. Could that life be intelligent and technological if it is there?  Sadly, that is not likely.    At less than 50 light years away we have had radio technology long enough that we would have heard something from them by now.  There could have been two way communications by now and there haven’t been.  The real significance of these planets is that they could be the best extra solar candidates for human colonization. (Gillon, et al. n.d.)  I also give a break down of why the habitability of multi star solar systems, as seen in a TV show like "Firefly" isn't possible.

We might get our first humans living long term on the Moon by the 2020s. How will they cope with lunar gravity, and will it need to be augmented, and if so, how? There is a lot written about artificial gravity to counter health issues in zero gravity. but what about artificial gravity on the Moon?