Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, February 10, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:11

Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 10, 2018 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 10, 2018 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
A new study has found that the seven planetsorbiting the nearby ultra-cool dwarf star 
TRAPPIST-1 are all made mostly of rock, andsome could potentially hold more water thanEarth. The planets’ densities, now known muchmore precisely than before, suggest that some ofthem could have up to 5 percent of their massin the form of water—about 250 times more 
than Earth’s oceans. The hotter planets closest totheir parent star are likely to have dense steamyatmospheres and the more distant ones probablyhave icy surfaces. In terms of size, density and theamount of radiation it receives from its star, the 
fourth planet out is the most similar to Earth. Itseems to be the rockiest planet of the seven, andhas the potential to host liquid water.

Planets around the faint red star TRAPPIST-1, 
just 40 light-years from Earth, were first detected 
by the TRAPPIST-South telescope at ESO’s La Silla 
Observatory in 2016. In the following year further 
observations from ground-based telescopes, 
including ESO’s Very Large Telescope and NASA’s 
Spitzer Space Telescope, revealed that there were 
no fewer than seven planets in the system, each 
roughly the same size as the Earth. They are named 
TRAPPIST-1b,c,d,e,f,g and h, with increasing 
distance from the central star. 

Further observations have now been made, 
both from telescopes on the ground, including 
the nearly-complete SPECULOOS facility at ESO’s 
Paranal Observatory and from NASA’s Spitzer 
Space Telescope and the Kepler Space Telescope. 
A team of scientists led by Simon Grimm at the 
University of Bern in Switzerland have now applied 
very complex computer modeling methods to all 
the available data and have determined the planets’ 
densities with much better precision than was 
possible before.

Simon Grimm explains how the masses are 
found: “The TRAPPIST-1 planets are so close 
together that they interfere with each other 
gravitationally, so the times when they pass in 
front of the star shift slightly. These shifts depend 
on the planets’ masses, their distances and other 
orbital parameters. With a computer model, we 
simulate the planets’ orbits until the calculated 
transits agree with the observed values, and hence 
derive the planetary masses.” 


[Nyerges is an educator your trees carefully, starting with trees that are already

and author who teaches drought-tolerant, and native to your area. If they can

ethnobotany and natural provide you with some food or medicine, all the better.

history. Information about It is a big mistake to think that you are trying to

his books and classes is save water and therefore you should cut down trees!
available at or Box Many have made that mistake. Remember, trees pull41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041. ]up moisture from deep below the surface, and they

Everyone here in Sierra Madre is residing in aactually affect the local environment and even thecoastal desert plain. Since we only have enough localweather. If you plant deciduous trees, all the betterwater for about one in five residents, it behooves us to because they lay down a layer of leaves which helpsfind and practice a lifestyle of water conservation.even more to keep the moisture in the soil. 

Yes, city officials talk the talk of “saving water,” 
yet they continue to allow development to continueRETAINING WATER 
unabated… but that’s another story.What do you do in your drought-resistant garden

I have addressed the issue of increasing populationso that water is retained longer? The key is all indensity in previous columns, and where we get ourimproving the soil, and in layers of mulch, so thatwater, and why we must retain as much as possible.moisture is trapped and therefore available longer inHere are some more ways to be a part of the solution. the season to the plants you’re trying to cultivate.

Mulching is perhaps one of the single best ways toUSE YOUR WATER MORE THAN ONCE trap the moisture in the soil. There are many possibleWhen water is limited, you must find ways to do moremulches, and they are simply laid on the surface of thewith less. Here are some examples. When you washgarden, or landscape.
your dishes, simply carry the dishpan outside andMost consist of biodegradable substances like grasswater plants with it.clippings, wood chips, sawdust, straw, alfalfa, and other

In nearly every place I have lived in the past 40materials. These are generally placed on the groundyears, I found ways to disconnect the bathtub drainaround the plants, and they not only absorb moistureand the kitchen drain and the drain from the washingthemselves, but help to retain moisture in the soil.
machine, and I directed that water out into the yard. If When I first began to garden, I had a source ofyour yard is hilly, this is easier, especially if the house isgrass clippings from a local cemetery. I discovered that 
on the upper part of the lot.layers and layers of grass clippings made a tremendous

On large properties, you can direct a hose from thedifference in plants that continued to thrive, even indrain of a washing machine, for example, and movedry spells.
the hose around to irrigate various trees or gardenI have also used layers of straw, from discarded balesareas. Obviously, this necessitates carefully choosingof straw (and in some cases alfalfa). This alone made a 
detergents that are not harmful to the soil. great difference in the quality of the crops I grew, and

in their ability to thrive later in the season when theyTREES would have normally just died off.
Trees are the miracles of this world, bringingNon-biodegradable substances can also be used,
underground water up to the surface, and released bysuch as gravel, and even rocks. At some garden supplythe leaves into the local atmosphere, providing bothcenters, they now sell recycled rubber that looks likeshade and a cooling effect.wood chips. Yes, it works as a mulch, but I would 

On small properties, trees should be planted aroundnot feel comfortable using rubber mulch in my foodthe perimeter, and these help as a barrier to winds,garden.
and they help to capture some moisture. But choose More on this in the future. 

compositions, strongly suggest that the seven these planets could support life,” said BriceTRAPPIST-
1 planets are not barren rocky worlds. Olivier Demory, co-author at the University ofThey seem to contain significant amounts of Bern. 
volatile material, probably water, amounting to “It is interesting that the densest planets are not 
up to 5% the planet’s mass in some cases—a huge the ones that are the closest to the star, and that the 
amount; by comparison the Earth has only about colder planets cannot harbor thick atmospheres,” 
0.02% water by mass!notes Caroline Dorn, study co-author based at the 

“Densities, while important clues to theUniversity of Zurich, Switzerland. 
planets’ compositions, do not say anything abouthabitability. However, our study is an importantYou can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@ 
step forward as we continue to explore whether 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


Did you ever have a smile on your face that noI thought I knew what that pink stuff was, butmatter what you did you could not wipe it off?I was not going to mention it in her presence.

Well, that is quite a regular occurrence withWhen she pulled both halves apart, bothme. But this past week was a “smile-on-the-face”sides were red and oozing pink juice. I could tellto beat all “smiles-on-the-face.” My only regret isimmediately that the hamburger was not cookedthat I did not do a Selfie. all the way through. I could have mentioned it to

It all began in the morning when I suggestedher, but I know better than to jump in where Ithat we go out for lunch for a pre-Valentine’s Daydon’t belong.
celebration. Sometimes with our schedule we She called the waitress over and showed her 
cannot celebrate a celebration on that celebration that her hamburger was not cooked. The waitressday.immediately apologized, took the hamburger,

Of course, the Gracious Mistress of the went and got her another one and this time it wasParsonage responded in the positive.cooked all the way through just like she likes it.
“You,” she said rather sarcastically, “will beOne calamity fixed. So we set back and beganpicking up the check?”to enjoy the rest of our lunch together.
“It’s the least,” I said in response, “I can do forI couldn’t help but snicker and she said, “Andyour Valentine’s Day present.” what are you snickering about?”
Smilingly she said, “It sure is the least thingThen we both began laughing together. Thereyou could do.” is no sense in trying to grouch your way through

We chuckled simultaneously, which is a situation like this. There was a problem, thesomething we rarely do, but this was a specialproblem was fixed, now we could enjoy lunchoccasion. together.

As a culinary whiz, my wife has served meIf I thought that was the end of our fun, I wassome of the most delightful meals on the be surprised.
No question about it.I mentioned to her several times how her 

So, going out for lunch at a nearby restauranthamburger was, and she just looked at me andwas a blessing to her, but not quite the blessing tosmiled and I had to smile right back at her. Usually,
me. Until this luncheon. I’m the one that gets the bloody hamburger. I like

The host of the restaurant took us to our table mine well done and there are times when it is not 
and we sat down to begin our luncheon activity.well done. This time the joke was on her.
At this point, everything was going fine.We finished our hamburgers, I was eating

The waitress took our order and we sent back my French fries and she was nibbling at herto relax waiting for our meal to arrive. We filledvegetables. I think a French fry is a vegetable, butthe time with chitchat of which my wife is anI’m not going to contest it.
excellent chit-chatter. I, on the other hand, am a Then I heard her scream, “What’s that?” 
great chitchat listener. In this regard, we make anEverybody in the restaurant heard her and wasexcellent team. looking at me as though I was the culprit. When I

The fun was just about to begin. If I knew howgot over her scream, I asked her what in the world 
much fun was going to take place, I could havewas wrong.
prepared myself a little better. But, you never“Look at that,” she stated. 
know what’s going to take place.I looked at her vegetables, which is something

Within a few moments, the waitress broughtI don’t like to do, and then I saw it. It was one 
our order. of those little things with legs that creep around.
We both had hamburgers. I had fries withYes, there was a bug in her vegetables.
mine while she ordered a plate of vegetables.How do you keep from laughing at something

The thing I hate about going to a restaurantlike that? 
like this is that I have to pay for the vegetables. IThe waitress came and was duly upset andknow vegetables are good for you, but do I havefinally said, “I don’t know how that happened.
to eat them all the time? Please forgive us; your lunch is on us.” 

We said our prayer over the food and thenSolomon had it right when he said, “He thatcommenced eating. Looking back on the handleth a matter wisely shall find good: andsituation, I do not think my prayer was sufficientwhoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he” (Proverbsfor the situation at hand. 16:20).

My wife always orders her hamburger medium-Sometimes God allows things to happen to seewell. I like mine cooked all the way through. Noif we really have joy in our hearts. I must confesspink allowed in my burger.that at this luncheon I did have joy in my heart.

As my wife cut her hamburger in two, that’s theDr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of Godway she likes to eat it, when all of a sudden redFellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. Heliquid leaked all over her plate.lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Phone

“Oh, my goodness,” she exclaimed, “what is352-687-4240 or e-mail Thethis pink stuff?” church web site is 

Team member Eric Agol comments on the 
significance: “A goal of exoplanet studies for some 
time has been to probe the composition of planets 
that are Earth-like in size and temperature. The 
discovery of TRAPPIST-1 and the capabilities 
of ESO’s facilities in Chile and the NASA Spitzer 
Space Telescope in orbit have made this possible—
giving us our first glimpse of what Earth-sized 
exoplanets are made of!”

The measurements of the densities, 
when combined with models of the planets’ 

Catch breaking news at:
Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: