Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 29, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 10



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 29, 2012 

NEW NEIGHBORS? Closest Single Star Like Our Sun May Have Habitable Planet

An international team of astronomers led by the University of Hertfordshire 
has discovered that Tau Ceti, one of the closest and most Sun-like stars, may 
host five planets—with one in the star’s habitable zone.

At a distance of twelve light-years and visible with the naked eye in the evening 
sky, Tau Ceti is the closest single star that has the same spectral classification 
as our Sun. Its five planets are estimated to have masses between two and six 
times the mass of the Earth—making it the lowest-mass planetary system yet 
detected. One of the planets lies in the habitable zone of the star and has a 
mass around five times that of Earth, making it the smallest planet found to be 
orbiting in the habitable zone of any Sun-like star.

The international team of astronomers, from the UK, Chile, the USA, and 
Australia, combined more than six-thousand observations from three different 
instruments and intensively modeled the data. Using new techniques, the team 
has found a method to detect signals half the size previously thought possible. 
This greatly improves the sensitivity of searches for small planets.

Mikko Tuomi, from the University of Hertfordshire and the first author 
of the paper, said: “We pioneered new data modeling techniques by adding 
artificial signals to the data and testing our recovery of the signals with a variety 
of different approaches. This significantly improved our noise modeling 
techniques and increased our ability to find low-mass planets.”

“We chose Tau Ceti for this noise modeling study because we had thought it 
contained no signals. And as it is so bright and similar to our Sun, it is an ideal 
benchmark system to test out our methods for the detection of small planets,” 
commented Hugh Jones from the University of Hertfordshire.

James Jenkins, Universidad de Chile and Visiting Fellow at the University of 
Hertfordshire, explained: “Tau Ceti is one of our nearest cosmic neighbors and so bright that we may be able to study the atmospheres of these planets in the not-too-distant future.”

Over 800 planets have been discovered orbiting other worlds, but planets in orbit around the nearest Sun-like stars are particularly valuable. Steve Vogt from University of California Santa Cruz said: “This 
discovery is in keeping with our emerging view that virtually every star has planets, and that the galaxy must have many such potentially habitable Earth-sized planets. They are everywhere, even right next 

“As we stare the night sky, it is worth contemplating that there may well be more planets out there than there are stars—some fraction of which may well be habitable,” added Chris Tinney from the University 
of New South Wales.



In each galaxy

A trillion new wonders wait…

Joy to all the worlds!

--Bob Eklund


You can contact Bob Eklund at:




Cutter is a charming two year 
old gold male Long Haired 
Chihuahua who was forsaken 
at the Downey Animal Care 
Center on December 7th with 
his sister Foxy (A4520506) 
because his former owners 
moved and made no provisions 
for their pets. Weighing 
fourteen pounds, this handsome 
dog walks well on leash 
and we believe he may be 
housebroken. He gets along 
well with other dogs and we 
think he will do beautifully 
with children. Cutter has a 
wonderful personality and 
will make a terrific indoor 
pet for anyone in any living 

To meet Cutter please visit 
him at the Baldwin Park 
Shelter, located at 4275 N. 
Elton, Baldwin Park, CA 91706 (Phone: 626-430-2378). For any inquiries 
about Cutter, please reference his animal ID number: A4520504. The 
shelter is open seven days a week, 12 pm-7 pm Monday-Thursday and 
10am-5pm Friday-Sunday. This is a high-intake shelter with a great need 
for adoptions. For more information about Cutter or the adoption process, 
contact United Hope for Animals Volunteer Adoption Coordinator 
Samantha at or 661-309-2674. 


To learn more about United Hope for Animals’ partnership with 
the Baldwin Park Shelter through its Shelter Support Program, as well 
as the many dog of all breeds, ages, and sizes available for adoption in 
local shelters, visit

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc

As a youngster growing up in a rural town in the deep south, I was blessed to have 
had lots of farm animals and domestic pets in my life throughout my childhood. I 
remember enjoying the luxury of allowing my dogs to roam freely, knowing that 
they would most likely have fun wandering through the woods behind our back 
yard, or head off to the neighbor‘s house to play with their dogs and beg for left 
over scraps, then return home and beg in at the back door just in time for supper! 
It was quite a privilege to have had so much freedom as a kid for both myself and my pets, and I imagine there are many Sierra 
Madre locals who have similar childhood memories of their own. With acres of undeveloped land, plenty of ample space 
between developments, and a heck of a lot less traffic passing through on our neighborhood streets, the risks were minimal for 
a pet who wanted to explore the great outdoors. It just seems natural, right?

Well, now it is almost 2013, and the fact is, that the open acres and land gaps that existed between our homes back in the 
day have shrunk dramatically in most parts of America over the past several years, and few & far between are the moments 
of silence without the noise of a vehicle passing swiftly by on the boulevards and streets where we live. Lets face it folks, as 
American citizens, or at least citizens of Los Angeles County, the days of “free-range” pet ownership are far-and-away long-
gone. Not only is it extremely risky to allow a dog to run free on the streets these days, it is against the law. Even pet owners in 
Sierra Madre today hopefully know better than to let their dog roam freely and assume it is safe.

I actually learned my lesson about leashing several years ago, while living in Hermosa Beach with my dog, “Lady”. She was 
such a friendly pup, so I was never concerned that she might get into a doggie tussle, or be hurt herself by roaming free and 
off-leash. I lived 2 blocks from the beach, and I loved to let Lady play on the sand, particularly during the off-season months 
when I knew there would be less traffic and few tourists touting about in town. However, one day I let Lady walk along with 
me on my way to get a coffee at the local breakfast nook and a cop stopped and cited me for having her off-leash. The leash law 
was new to me, so I was taken very much by surprise when I was told I had to take a day off work to appear in court and pay a 
fine. That was the last time I ever allowed my dog to roam free in LA. Although I admit that it seemed ridiculous at the time, 
I have since learned to respect the leash laws, and I guess I have become a self-appointed advocate for full compliance, mainly 
for the sake & safety of the animals.

While we would all love to assume that our own dog is smarter than most it is never really a safe assumption, because you 
never know what the “other guy” might do and it only takes one time for a tragic accident to happen. Ultimately, allowing 
your dog to roam in spite of the law and obvious risks amounts to nothing less than negligence. A domestic dog is a creature 
driven more by instinct than taught intelligence or allegiance to it’s master, regardless of how much training he has received. 
In fact, the human’s delusion of owning the perfectly obedient dog is an excellent example of how, in some ways the dog is 
indeed smarter than the human being. No offense to those responsible owners who have taken the time to properly train and 
discipline their pets, it’s just that humans need to come to grips with the fact that a canine will do what comes naturally to 
itself, and much of the time the instinctual behavior of the canine is not in tune with the behavior of the human, particularly 
when the human is behind the wheel.

Even a well-trained, obedient domestic dog will have a tendency to chase a squirrel scrambling up a tree, a bird taking flight or 
a cat meandering by on the opposite side of the road, and when that happens, it’s instincts are likely to override any obedience 
training it may have had, prompting it to cross the street and take chase after whatever it was that caught it’s attention.

It only takes one time for a fast-moving vehicle to pass by in 
the wrong place at the wrong time, to end the life of a beloved 
pet. So I say, please set your “pet pride” aside, and take proper 
precautions. The risks are simply not worth it, and it would 
be you, not your dog to be blamed if such a tragic accident 
should happen. A truly loving, caring pet owner will always 
protect their pet from harm, and that kind of unconditional 
love includes educating ones-self and forfeiting some of the 
freedoms that we would all love to enjoy, such as roaming off 
leash like we did in the good old days. If you love them, you 
will leash them!