A notebook bulletin board
tacked on when randomly bored
applied thoughts in a scribblebook
open for the world to look who passes by
so fast to see like a needle in a haystack we
safely stash those innermost secrets thought to be
at least you see languishing up and into pristine
blossoms for you to pick and sniff and hope
they don't make you sick.


Notes Toward a Better Understanding of Our
Solar System

Sedna, discovered a decade ago, is a trans-Neptunian object (most likely a Dwarf planet) which may turn out to be "the first known member of the Inner Oort Cloud".   The red oval below depicts Sedna's extreme orbit about our Sun.

TNO's:  Trans-Neptunian Objects

Planetary bodies which orbit the Sun farther away than Neptune are known as Trans-Neptunian Objects, or TNOs.   I wrote about them last year in my Science & Speculation blog, Dark Side of the Wild.

Eris & Dysnomia

Eris is a Trans-Neptunian object classified as a dwarf planet, dwelling in the scattered disc.  It's moon is named Dysnomia.  

Oort Cloud >  Scattered Field >  Kuiper Belt >  Solar System >   (SUN)   < Solar System  < Kuiper Belt  < Scattered Field  < Oort Cloud  

It's important for us to try harder to visualize our solar system as it really is.  In order to do that, one must discard our old preconception of the "flat pancake of nine planets" orbiting our Sun, and get prepared to have your mind blown, because the real thing is far more staggering than any of us previously imagined.   Before we even begin trying to visualize what a galaxy is, we need to scale it down a bit, and focus on being able to correctly visualize a solar system, first.  

Parallax is used to gain depth-perception.  It is a displacement in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight.  Stellar parallax is the effect of parallax on distant stars in astronomy.  Astronomy is the natural science that studies celestial objects and their evolution outside the atmosphere of Earth.  

Earth is the planet that we human beings all happen to reside upon.  There are five branches of natural science:  astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and the Earth sciences, which include ecology and geology.   Cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole, and in that regard, may be seen as a larger aspect of astronomy itself, one of the oldest sciences; the Egyptian monuments, for instance, are examples of some of the oldest astronomical artifacts.     

One may begin the exercise of visualizing our solar system from the Outside going inwards, or they may start from the Inside, going outwards from our Sun.   I think doing both is best, starting from the inner core of our solar system, the Sun.  But before we do that, we must remember that the star we revolve about daily itself was formulated back during that mysterious event of our solar system's birth.

Stars are formed from molecular clouds.   Our Sun is about 8.5 kiloparsecs from the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.   A parsec is 3.26 light years.  A kiloparsec (kpc) is one thousand times that, so three-thousand two-hundred and sixty-two light years.   To give us a better idea, our galaxy is measured as being somewhere in between 31 and 37 kiloparsecs in diameter, while being only one-third of a kiloparsec thick.   Here's a rough diagram (appropriated courtesy of the GNU Free Documentation License under Creative Commons):

The Globular clusters are spherical collections of stars which orbit a galactic core as a satellite.  

They exist within the galactic halo, that spherical region surrounding a galaxy which extends past the more visible and flattened disc-like portion more immediate to it.   There is both an inner halo and an outer halo; our Sun appears to be situated roughly where the inner halo ends and the outer halo begins.

 a 360 degree view of our galaxy

It's best to think of the cosmos as a nested set of spheres within spheres.  Our Milky Way Galaxy is a gigantic sphere of stars, wherein each star is nested, in turn, within a great spherical area of planetary bodies, such as our own Oort Cloud, for example.  At the core of which burns a single star.  

The Shrinking Zone

I'd like to advance a theory on the likelihood that our planet's Habitable Zone was once upon a time during the earlier stages of our Solar System's formation actually much larger than it is today; which is to say, its distance from our Sun's location was greater than it is today, therefore it may have applied to the area in which Mars or the asteroid belt now resides.    

50 million years ago, when it is theorized a Mars-sized planetoid may have collided with the Earth to form our moon, was the heat coming from the Sun's region then greater than it is today?  

In the past, astronomers wondered at the much larger gap between Mars and Jupiter, theorizing there may have been a planet there, once.  (Astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus Olbers dubbed this hypothetical planet "Phaeton".)  It's not hard to imagine a planet formerly between Mars and Jupiter having been slammed into by a giant asteroid, nor is it it hard to imagine, perhaps, many such-sized planets having existed in this region, perhaps all of which were destroyed from chaotic collisions.  Whatever occurred during these formative stages of our solar system, the results are plain to observe today with telescopes:   the asteroid belt remains, trapped in orbit about our Sun.   Ceres appears to be the largest remaining chunk of whatever destructive collisions occurred way back then.   Perhaps certain chunks went ricocheting out towards Mars - two of which became captured by it's gravity, and are today known as Phobos and Deimos.   

But what about our Goldilocks Zone?  It's not hard to imagine that perhaps, back then--the heat from our developing Sun may have reached farther out.  For all we know, the Goldilocks Habitable Zone extended as far as where that missing fifth planet may have been located (referred to as either Phaeton and/or also Theia, today).   

In my raw theorizing, I have developed this idea that perhaps homo sapiens sapiens are descended from the Phaetons or the Theians, presuming either of these hypothetical planetoids were occupied by an advanced civilization.  Maybe they even surpassed our own level of technology, and figured out that their own Habitable Zone was shrinking, and would eventually encompass Mars.  Perhaps they devised a rudimentary form of space travel--a solar ark, so to speak--sufficient enough to carry a core group of them across safely to Mars.  

Perhaps they did this to escape the asteroid they observed headed straight towards them.  Whatever the case may be, it's interesting to speculate on the possibilities surrounding the notion that the Habitable Zone may have once had a greater circumference.  

Perhaps Mars once held life, as has been  pointed out many times before by scientists speculating.  Maybe the Goldilocks Zone shrank, from having accommodated Phaeton or Theia, to having accommodated Mars, for a new period lasting millennia. And maybe (just maybe), this Shrinking Zone continued to get smaller...until it finally reached the Earth.  

Maybe our ancestors were prepared for this, and successfully transferred themselves, once again, by planet hopping from Mars to Earth . . . just in time to benefit from the next, smaller Habitable Zone--which we find ourselves in today.   

It makes sense if, indeed, the heat being generated from our Sun was greater, back then.  It would explain a lot about the water currently being observed on Ceres.  It would help corroborate the new theory that perhaps life on Earth was seeded from Theia or Phaeton.  It's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that this "seeding" may have something to do with the impact which rendered the asteroid belt and possibly our Moon.  

The thing to keep in mind, is we must never underestimate the outlandish magnificence or grandeur of nature.  We tend to think of it as being mechanistic, that is, accidental collisions resulting in life.  But what if some of what occurred was orchestrated by advanced beings: our forefathers?  It's easy to scoff at such notions, today.  Yet beware of scoffing away the proverbial baby with our tossed-out bathwater.   It's what keeping an open mind is all about.   

So, what if our Moon was placed here by design?  Maybe architects placed the Moon as a sort of "plumb bob" to intentionally rectify its axis to 23 degrees,  just so, in order to fine-tune this third planet from the Sun to accommodate life?  

The mystery of the formation of our Solar System has been studied with closer scrutiny since the invention of the telescope and continues to this day with the advent of modern science.  Today, scientists continue to make new and startling discoveries about the real nature of our solar system.  We should all be paying more close attention.  If we all think this through together, we might get somewhere.   

We are drawing closer towards more clues that will help provide the answers we are seeking.  Answers to the questions of our origin, and its true nature.  We must continue to exercise our thinking muscles and remember to speculate wildly!  For the actual answers may be far more shocking than we are currently prepared for.