Paper here. Lay summary here. Some bits from the latter:

The problem is this. The Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft were launched towards Jupiter and Saturn in the early 1970s. After their respective flybys, they continued on escape trajectories out of the Solar System, both decelerating under the force of the Sun's gravity. But careful measuremenrs show that the spacecraft are slowing faster than they ought to, as if being pulled by an extra unseen force towards the Sun.

Spacecraft engineers' first thought was that heat emitted by the spacecraft could cause exactly this kind of deceleration. But when they examined the way heat was produced on the craft, by on board plutonium, and how this must have been emitted, they were unable to make the numbers add up.

Now Frederico Francisco at the Instituto de Plasmas e Fusao Nuclear in Lisbon Portugal, and a few pals, say they've worked out where the thermal calculations went wrong.

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I guess it was too much to hope that it would turn out to be Quirrelmort.


When I read this earlier, it reminded me of the YORP Effect.

Upvoted for your implicitly stated point that novel things can have relatively mundane explanations, so we shouldn't expect them to always have novel explanations (e.g. GR bending starlight around the Sun, etc.). An old point (almost certainly made in the sequences somewhere), but a good one.

Oops, I meant to follow the custom that seems to have emerged of putting "[link]" in the title of a post like this. I'm not changing it because as far as I know that still makes it show up twice in RSS.

So, Pioneer 11 is definitely a Horcrux, no? However, HPMoR stuff is set in '91-'92 so Quirrelmort doesn't know this will happen. I believe I see the pattern. On another note, I wonder if Harry could make a time turner without limits concerning direction or amount of time elapsed if he understood the universe better. This is such an excellent universe for speculation!