Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, November 18, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:11

Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 18, 2017 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 18, 2017 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
A team working with the European SouthernObservatory’s High Accuracy Radial velocity PlanetSearcher (HARPS) at the La Silla Observatoryin Chile has found that the red dwarf star Ross 
128 is orbited by a low-mass exoplanet every 9.9days. This Earth-sized world, just 11 light-yearsaway, is expected to be temperate, with a surfacetemperature that may also be close to that of theEarth. Ross 128 is the “quietest” nearby star to hostsuch a temperate exoplanet.

“This discovery is based on more than a decadeof HARPS intensive monitoring together with state-
of-the-art data reduction and analysis techniques.
Only HARPS has demonstrated such a precisionand it remains the best planet hunter of its kind,
15 years after it began operations,” explains NicolaAstudillo-Defru (Geneva Observatory, Universityof Geneva, Switzerland), who co-authored thediscovery paper.

Red dwarfs are some of the coolest, faintest, and 
most common stars in the universe. This makes 
them very good targets in the search for exoplanetsand so they are increasingly being studied. In fact,
lead author Xavier Bonfils (Institut de Planétologie 
et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble, Université 
Grenoble-Alpes/CNRS, Grenoble, France), namedtheir HARPS program “The Shortcut to Happiness,” 
as it is easier to detect small cool siblings of Eartharound these stars than around stars more similar 
to the Sun. 

Many red dwarf stars, including Proxima 
Centauri, are subject to flares that occasionallybathe their orbiting planets in deadly ultravioletand X-ray radiation. However, it seems that Ross128 is a much quieter star, without such flares, andso its planets may be the closest known comfortableabode for possible life.

Although it is currently 11 light-years from Earth,
Ross 128 is moving towards us and is expected tobecome our nearest stellar neighbor in just 79,000

years—a blink of the eye in cosmic terms. Ross 128b will by then take the crown from Proxima b andbecome the closest exoplanet to Earth.

With the data from HARPS, the team found that 
Ross 128 b orbits 20 times closer to its star than the 
Earth orbits the Sun. Despite this proximity, Ross128 b receives only 1.38 times more irradiationthan the Earth. As a result, Ross 128 b’s equilibriumtemperature is estimated to lie between -60 and 


It’s Roots, and other Commentary 

[Nyerges is the author ofbeen to England and back, and had his own plan

“How to Survive Anywhere,” to re-establish his home-town village near what

“Foraging California,” became the Plimouth colony.

“Enter the Forest” and other Though Tisquantum successfully helped 

books. He leads courses in Massasoit broker a pact with the newcomers from 

the native uses of plants. He across the ocean, Tisquantum died about a year 
can be reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041,later. The truce that Massasoit hoped to cement 
or]lasted perhaps another 50 years until there were 

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite too many Europeans flooding into Massachusetts 
holiday of the year. Even moreso than Christmas. and all of what was to become the eastern United 
It is our uniquely American holiday where theStates. 
family gathers, where we remember our roots, weDespite the varied history of this day, Americans 
share a meal, and we hopefully “give thanks.” have chosen to see this as day set aside so that we 

But look how quickly such simple and profounddo not lose sight of our spiritual blessings.
holidays get perverted. Today, we hardly knowBut we should not confuse “giving thanks” withwhat “giving thanks” even means, and so the act of“eating a lot of really good food.” “Giving Thanks”
giving thanks is lost on most of us. Newscasters is an enlightened attitude which accompaniestalk about “turkey day,” as if all there was to the dayspecific actions. Perhaps sharing our bounty withwas eating turkey. Interestingly, most folks wouldthe needy would be a better Thanksgiving activitynot know whether or not they were eating turkey,than eating large volumes of food. More to the 
or eating crow, and most of the time we’re doingpoint, perhaps we should use Thanksgiving to givethe latter, figuratively speaking. Then, when we thanks where it is due -- to the indigenous peopleshave barely taken the time to consider the notionwho have become the “forgotten minorities.” 
of “giving thanks,” we get up early on the followingRather than “eat a lot,” perhaps we could send“black Friday” to rush around with the mobs blankets, food, or money to any of the American“looking for a good deal” to help us celebrate theIndian families or nations who today live in Thirdconsumer-driven commercial craze into which World conditions 
we’ve morphed “Christmas.” To me, the essence of Thanksgiving was the 

Wow! How did we get here? What can we do coming together of two cultures, trying to work 
about it? Let’s take a moment to look at the roots of together under trying circumstances. Yes, they 
Thanksgiving.shared a meal. Food sustains us. But it was not 

In the history of North America, we are told thatabout food, per se. They practiced with their bows 
the first historic Thanksgiving Day was in Octoberand guns, a sign of mutual preparedness. And in 
of 1621. After a successful harvest that year at thetheir own ways, they “prayed to God,” in the ways 
Plymouth colony, there was about a week or so ofthat were appropriate to each culture. 
celebrations. The local Indians and the colonists But we really should not forget our national 
joined together, with the Indians generally showingroots. Don’t just give lip-service thanks to thethe colonists (mostly city folks) how to hunt for theNative Americans whose land was taken. Rather, 
meal which consisted of fowl, deer, duck, goose,find those organizations that are actually providingand fish. Corn bread, wild greens, plums, leeks,real assistance to Native Americans in poverty,
and many other vegetables (wild and domestic)such as many of those living in the third worldwere shared in this celebration. Interestingly, thereconditions so prevalent on today’s reservations. 
is no recorded evidence that wild turkey or wildcranberries were part of the menu. And we tell and

star has a larger gravitational effect on the star thanto study their atmospheres, composition anda similar planet orbiting further out from a morechemistry in more detail. Vitally, the detectionmassive star like the Sun. As a result, this “reflex of biomarkers such as oxygen in the very closestmotion” velocity is much easier to spot. However,exoplanet atmospheres will be a huge next step,
the fact that red dwarfs are fainter makes it harder which ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (https://
to collect enough light to make the very (ELT) is in prime position to take. 
measurements that are needed. 

Astronomers are now detecting more and moreYou can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@ 
temperate exoplanets, and the next stage will be 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


It was a pre-Thanksgiving evening and the Graciousat Christmas time. On my part, I cannot come upMistress of the Parsonage and I were enjoying somewith all the members of our family without askinghot cider tea. Nothing goes down quite as nice as a hotquestions to someone across the room. I recognizecider tea. them when I see them, but I always forget one or two

It was rather a quiet evening and I happened towhen I'm trying to think about the family.
glance over at my wife and saw her staring into spaceThat is the difference between my wife and me. Sheas it were. It concerned me because I knew that's what can keep a list of the family in her head for months,
she did when she was thinking about something.yea even years and know exactly what they would like

The problem that faced me was simply this. Wasfor Christmas and even for their birthday. I don't evenshe thinking about me or something else? If it's me,know their birthdays and have to be reminded by myI'm probably in trouble. If it's something else, I'mwife. 
probably in trouble. No matter which side of the fenceHere we were, just a few days away fromI'm on, I'm in trouble. Thanksgiving and the wife is thinking about

I was tempted to ignore the situation and continueChristmas. 
the silent evening but something inside me would notIt seems to me that there is a reason whylet me sit still. I don't know what it is about us husbands, Thanksgiving is a time that we give thanks sometimeswe don't know when to shut up and we don't knowfor the turkey in front of us. Sometimes, for the turkeywhen to speak up. If only we could do the opposite ofin the family, if you know what I mean.
what we’re thinking at the time, we probably could getI said very cautiously to my wife, â€oeJust relax andalong much better with the opposite side of the fence.enjoy the evening and wait until after Thanksgiving to

What are you, I asked her quite simply, thinking work on your Christmas list.â€
about so strongly?She came down out of her staring across the room

Continuing to stare into space, she was silent for aand began staring at me one of those stares that I'vefew moments and then she said, I'm trying to figureexperienced so many times in life. â€oeI must,†she 
out what gifts we should get for our family.said most dramatically, â€oetry to figure out what I'm

Say what? I haven't even demolished the going to get my family for Christmas.â€
Thanksgiving turkey yet and she's thinking aboutI flashed a smile back at her and cuddled up to theChristmas gifts.silence for a few more moments. 

That is the way with my wife. She cannot let a dayOne thing I can say about her, she is very generousgo by without thinking of something three weeks orwhen it comes to giving, especially at Christmas time.
two months down the road. She cannot sit still and As for me, my focus is on Thanksgiving. It's comingenjoy the moment.up very shortly and when it does, I want to be ready

I, on the other side of the fence, am able to sit down to enjoy every bit of that Thanksgiving dinner. Iand enjoy this silence of the moment. I do not haveknow that around the table will be a variety of familythe jitters to get up and do something. I have themembers. I know that some of them will be verycalm, relaxing feeling of just sitting and enjoying the chatty about what's going on in their life. I will smilemoment. and nod most generously, but my focus is on Tom the

I knew what was going through her mind; all ofTurkey.

the members of our family and what they like to get As my muse took me a little bit further downmemory lane, I began to see and appreciate thedifference between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I

+20°C, thanks to the cool and faint nature of its 
small red dwarf host star, which has just over halfthe surface temperature of the Sun. While thescientists involved in this discovery consider Ross128b to be a temperate planet, uncertainty remainsas to whether the planet lies inside, outside, or onthe cusp of the habitable zone, where liquid watermay exist on a planet’s surface.

A planet orbiting close to a low-mass red dwarf 

know they are about a month apart, but there's a bigger

re-tell this particular American story as if it is all

difference than days when it comes to Thanksgiving

about food! 

and Christmas. 

In fact, some (but not all) historians question

Christmas is when you spend a whole lot of money

whether or not there were any religious overtones

buying Christmas presents for everybody in your

at all on this “first Thanksgiving,” citing such

family even those that, well, how can I say it, is not on

evidence as the archery and firearms games, and

your nice list.

the running and jumping competitions, which they

Thanksgiving is quite different. Once I get beyond

say would never be done at religious ceremonies

the turkey, I begin to realize that the purpose of

by the Puritans. The “competition” was more likely

Thanksgiving is simply to give thanks.

the men on each side doing their shows of bravado

Christmas costs a lot, especially out of my wallet,

with weapons and physical feats before sitting 

but Thanksgiving costs more but in a different 

down to eat. 


What then is it, if anything, that sets the American

For Christmas, I have to work out a budget and I'm

(and the Canadian) Thanksgiving celebration apart

always, or should I say my wife is always over budget.

from any of the other myriad of Harvest Festivals?

However, Thanksgiving is different. Thanksgiving

Not widely known is that this “first thanksgiving”

is giving thanks and that has no monetary value on it

feast had mostly political overtones, which seem

at all. 

to have largely backfired. Tisquantum (“Squanto”)

Giving thanks is a good thing as David points out,

was the interpreter for Massasoit, who was the

â€oeIt is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord,

political-military leader of the local Wampanoag

and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most Highâ€

tribe. Massasoit was worried that his weakened 

(Psalm 92:1).

tribe would be taken-advantage of by the stronger

No matter how much coin I have in my pocket,

Narragansett, because his own group had been so

giving thanks is the richest thing I could possibly give.

reduced from disease. Massasoit would permit the

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God

European newcomers to stay as long as they liked,

Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He

as long as they aligned with Massasoit against the

lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. 

Narraganset. (Read all about it in your history

books). Tisquantum spoke English because he’d 

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