Freak of Nature or Divine Design?
"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:"
We recently reported on this program that another set of new planets had been discovered circling another star. We pointed out that in each case, most of the planets were too large to support life. In many of the instances, the planets also had egg shaped orbits that would provide them with harsh, highly erratic climates – if they had any atmosphere at all.
In his announcement of the discovery of the 17th planet found to be orbiting another star, Geoffrey W. Marcy of San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley, points out another problem with these solar systems. In pointing out the problem, he wonders if our solar system, where the planets have relatively circular orbits, is an exception to the rule. In every other planetary system so far seen, the planets either have very oval orbits or they lie closer to their star than Mercury is to our sun.
Marcy points out than an additional problem with having a planet with a highly elongated orbit in a solar system is that it would eliminate any planets with circular orbits. It would be only a matter of time before the planet with the elongated orbit would send the planet with a circular orbit into its star or out into deep space. But where Marcy is wrong is that while our solar system may be unique, it is no freak of nature. Rather, our solar system has clearly been specially designed by a loving and all-powerful God to support life.
Notes: R.C., "Solar system planets: Freaks of nature?", Science News, 1/30/99, v. 155, p. 79.
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