Space is cool

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Something pretty cool came out of the world of science on Tuesday.

Associated Press reporters Raphael G. Satter and Frank Jordans wrote that  a group of astronomers from Switzerland, France, Germany, and Portugal have "identified a sun-like star with as many as seven different planets — including one that might be the smallest ever found outside the solar system."

The star which spawned this solar system, known as HD 10180, is more than 100 light years away. Let me put that distance into perspective.

The light from that star takes 100 years to get here, traveling at 186,000 miles per second or 6 trillion miles a year. It's a ways off.

This kind of information excites me. And, you do not have to be a Solar System Ambassador for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Lab, as I am, to find something cool about all this.

I am 51. As a kid and an adult the idea of planets outside our solar system was strictly the stuff of imagination. In only the last 15 years has mankind stripped away some of the veil of space to reveal other planets are out there. But, most of those planets were gas giants like Saturn and Jupiter, unable to sustain life as we know it.      

Now it is believed a planet only 1.4 times the size of Earth may be part of this newly discovered solar system.

It spawns all kinds of questions.

Is this planet habitable by human life?

Is there life there already?

If there is life are they aware of us?

If there is life there have they traveled here?

If they have were they driving the UFO another amateur astronomer and I saw at Northmoor Observatory in Peoria a few years ago?

I don't know.

You don't know.

None of us know.

But, it is pretty cool to contemplate.