Oxford Sparks: Rogue Planet

[Doorbell rings] Welcome to your interactive guide to the planets. [Fanfare] Please select your planet guide. So, you picked me! Everybody always wants the giant one, or the red one, or the one with the cool rings going around it. Nobody has ever even heard of Sol i. I guess you’re gonna find out why. Right… hang on to those handles there. Not bad, eh? We also do time-travel. Can you believe they built this whole thing from bits of spaceship that they found lying around? Ahh, the good old days! The Sun was relatively new, the Solar System all nice and stable. Everything just as it should be. At least, that’s what they thought! But then, a resonance! A repeated alignment of Jupiter and Saturn. And before we knew it, chaos! Rocks flying about everywhere! Many of ’em got chucked outwards to form what is now known as the Kuiper Belt. Uranus and Neptune actually swapped places! And me? Ah, well I was thrown out entirely. Can you believe that? Ejected into the cold, dark expanse of space! Oh yeah… the err… the home button. Umm, I mean it gets you back to your own time but it’s not so great on location. What if I try to find you a new home, eh? Look at all of these possibilities! Maybe I’ll just pick one. Right, strap your wee self in. I’m gonna make the jump to way faster than light speed! Alpha Centauri Bb. It’s actually quite close to home. If you can call 4.2 light years ‘close’. A similar size to Earth. Wee bit hot, though. Let’s try another. PH 1 – four suns. That’s a lot of sunsets. No? 55 Cancri d? Too cold. Kepler 22 B? Nah, too big. Now this one looks just right. Not too big, not too small, not too hot, not too cold. And look at this image from the surface! Hang about… This all looks familiar. Can’t a planet get any peace? [Ossie yells] Did the Moon’s craters really form that quickly? Did the Solar System really have a 5th giant planet? Will our intrepid traveller ever return home? The latest research to answer all of these questions and more is at www.oxfordsparks.net/planet


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