Like everyone else, you probably grew a little bit misty at the news that NASA discovered seven Earth-sized planets some 40 light years away from us. It's wondrous news, by which I mean it inspires wonder in us.
But one of the neater and under-covered aspects of this revelation is that astronomer Sean Raymond, one of the co-authors of the report about the planets, announced the discovery with a long poem. You can find the poem, "Ode to 7 Orbs," on Raymond's site. A sampling:
This new star with planets is called TRAPPIST-1
It’s not a star that is at all like the Sun
It’s much much much smaller, and also less hot
Two thousand times fainter. (Now that is a lot).
An “ultracool dwarf” star they call it. And hey,
It’s just about 40-odd light years away.
The planets have letters for names. Now, you see,
From outside to in it’s h, g, f, e, d,
And, yes, as you guessed, after that, c and b
(The first one’s called b. There is no planet a.
The “a” is reserved for the star, by the way).
Okay, look: it's not great poetry. But it is absolutely adorable that a scientist is so excited about a discovery the he decided to celebrate it with an epic explanatory poem. The sheer exuberance of it is deeply moving.