Saturday, January 5, 2013

Billions and Billions

Hey Space Placers!

Back on 9/16/12 I wrote about how I thought that there had to be billions if not trillions of planets in the Universe.

Well, a new study by astronomers has determined that our very own Milky Way Galaxy has at LEAST 100 BILLION planets, or to put it another way, one planet per star. That is a lot of planets!

As I said in my previous blog, planets seem to be a natural byproduct of stellar formation and we are finding exoplanets everywhere we look. We now know of a planetary system around the nearest star system to us located 4 light years away, of a planet that is made of diamond, big Jupiter-sized and bigger planets, and near-Earth sized planets. In short, our Milky Way Galaxy is a veritable zoo of planets - each distinct and incredible.

And if our galaxy has at least one planet per star, so too should the 100 billion+ galaxies that comprise our observable Universe. Wow, what a number of worlds that is.

We have to ask ourselves with all of these worlds are we the ONLY one that has evolved a species that can look out amongst the stars and know that there are other worlds out there? I highly doubt it. There are other life forms out there doing the same and maybe even traveling amongst the stars. We are. Voyager 1 and 2 will roam interstellar space for countless years.

Some day in the future humankind will learn that we are not alone - that intelligent life does exist elsewhere in the Universe. Throughout history we have been knocked off our high and mighty perch of thinking we were the center of everything only to discover through science that we are not.

I don't think it is possible to roam the stars as we do in science fiction because our current knowledge says it is not scientifically feasible. But we do not know everything there is to know so interstellar travel may one day be a reality.

Humanity is the greatest threat to humanity achieving longevity and thereby perhaps roam amongst the stars ourselves. Global warming/climate change, current economic models, endless war and savagery threaten the human race. Only time itself will tell how our species fares.

Enjoy looking at the night sky with a new perspective that we now have. Look at each star you see and imagine what planetary wonders may be accompanying that point of light. Also ask yourself if anyone is looking back and pondering the same as well.

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Sky Guy in VA

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