Saturday Morning Physics
Comets and Cappuccinos: How a Coffee Break Helped Change the Way We Understand the Solar System
Br. Guy Consolmagno SJ, Curator of the Vatican Meteorite Collection, Vatican Observatory, Vatican City State
Learn how a cappuccino at the Vatican fifteen years ago inspired a new, efficient way of measuring meteorite densities. Startlingly, comparing these measurements to the densities of asteroids and comets has completely shaken up our understanding of small bodies in the solar system. It's altered our way of understanding the formation of planets, our ideas of defending ourselves from killer asteroids, and our definition of dwarf planets like Pluto.