Sunday, April 29, 2007


I checked my calendar this morning and wanted to kick myself because I missed my blog day (in my defense, it was Kindergarten Registration day and I was a bit of a wreck--my baby will be off to real school next year, sniff!). But I think I can make it up by sharing this news right here. And the official press release from the ESO here.

This is freakin' amazing. and just in case the articles didn't make it clear enough, this discovery of a terrestrial planet (as opposed to a gas giant) orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581c at a distance that, given the red star's coolness and the planet's makeup and proximity, puts the planetary temperatures in a habitable zone of about 0-40 degrees Celsius.

So let's find out what other known places lie in that zone. Straaaange and unuuuuuusual places like, oh, Florida. The planet is terrestrial, which means it's made up of rocks. Could be a rocky surface, could be an ocean. Yeah, an ocean, because the temperature of the planet is within the range where water is liquid.

Now I write SF--distant planets, distant galaxies, space travel, all that. I'm familiar with strange new worlds and unusual planets. When I need a strange and exotic world, I make it up. I fudge the science--It's just me making stuff up according to the needs of the story. But this isn't me or anybody else making shit up. This is real. Really real, not just humans making stuff up out of their imaginations, but real, observable (to an extent) variety in the galaxy. This is something that doesn't come from the imagination of any human being. This is something from the mind of the Universe itself.

I wonder what kind of stories the Universe has to tell.

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