The Next Wave of Planets

September 16, 2009

These days we frequently hear of a new planetary discovery. The science blogs and press releases report, with increasing regularity, the discovery of an earth-like planet, the most massive planet, the fastest orbiting planet and the list goes on. When considering planetary discovery as a more universal theme, astronomers have left astrologers in the dust and ice of the Kuiper Belt. With the planetary definition debacle stimulated by Eris a few years hence, astronomers now struggle with applying that “clear up Pluto” declaration as a fussy template to apply to other worlds… other worlds meaning planets around other stars.

Whether considered astrologically or not, planets around other stars are a big deal. Exosolar planets as they are called are now known to be nearly 400 in number (375 by today’s count on and ever growing). Many such planets larger than Jupiter orbit their star in days! Some are likely brown dwarfs or similar such things. Yet the quest of astronomers on Earth is to find such a planet that seems to be like earth – the narcissistic assumption being a planet like Earth has a better chance of life.

Those outside the realm of astrology often express amazement that astrologers are not addressing the implication of these planets. Some contend that astrologers are so heavily invested in reacquainting themselves with historical roots via comprehensive and articulate translations that they cannot even address the current discoveries of the solar system such as centaurs and dwarf planets let alone other worlds. Truly, the other world phenomenon is a collective consciousness bender.

The flagship star of extra-solar planet discovery is assumed to be 51 Peg (51 Pegasus, located at 24 Pisces 17, epoch 2000.0). In 1995 the alleged expanding philosophical reach of humanity received planetary definition from Jupiter in Sagittarius and Saturn in the same sign as 51 Peg. Also that year, deep diving Pluto flirted with the last degrees of “reveal all truths” Scorpio and into the unending discovery saga associated with Sag. While some theologians, religious leaders and scholars tracked the astronomical discovery, the majority of astrologers did not.

At this point in 1995, awareness of other worlds finally appeared to our consciousness, offering the first potential grounding strap for the idea that other worlds and alien cultures might exist. Staggering yes? Not if one considers that Australian astronomers have taken a stab at the number of stars out there: 70 Sextillion. Does it take a planet just like earth for earthlings to care?

It’s all more convoluted than that. 51 Peg was not the first object discovered with “planets.” In 1994, astronomers realized that the pulsar PSR1257+12 held not one, but three planets in its gravitational grasp. Why did this receive no press blitz? A pulsar consists of a neutron star for a core, which is deemed incapable of supporting life. So who cares?

From now on, we’ll continue to be inundated with new planet discoveries. Each will claim to be more innovative and significant than its predecessor. Astronomers largely look to other worlds, ignoring the seemingly lifeless remnants still to be revealed in our solar system. Should we keep up?

Ah, our ignored and disregarded solar system. Soon other stars will be found to have more planets than we do… if anyone can determine what a planet makes. Our Sun is rather ordinary in cosmic perspectives, despite its importance to those who determine those cosmic perspectives. And here’s another solar system, expanding horizons, “holy cow, imagine that” factoid that eludes press coverage and the attention of astrologers: Our awareness of the vastness of our solar system has exponentially exploded. When Sedna came to our attention in 2003 with her 11,213.9 year stroll around the Sun (according to today’s data), she stretched our awareness of the reach of our solar system. Then, in 2006 a small Kuiper Belt Object with the unrefined orbit designation of 2006 SQ372 was located. According to today’s data, this body, orbiting our Sun, does so once every 35,591 years! The known breadth of our solar system, since 2003, has expanded by a factor of approximately fifty times!!

No doubt it is time to reach out with a clear awareness of what is and weave that into option-oriented, expanding reality consciousness. Take one from the real estate folks. Every time I tell a realtor about the increase of known space in our solar system, they always ask: Is that space available? Maybe. But certainly other planets exist upon which the housing markets may be fertile, flourishing and expanding. Maybe that’s something to ponder with the next gaze upward at a starry sky. Someone might be looking back.