This week I read the article, “A Doomed Planet, and Scientists Are Lucky to Have Spotted It,” by Kenneth Chang on nyt.com. I chose this article because I have taken two years of astronomy, and I find the cosmos intriguing.
Some of the information conveyed in the article blew my mind (as astronomy often does; I think that’s why I like it), such as the fact that a million years is considered, “an eye blink on the cosmic scale.” It’s also incredible to think about a planet that orbits its star in less than 24 hours, while it takes Earth an entire year to orbit our sun. This demonstrates the proximity of WASP-18b to its star.
In addition to being interesting, this article was also well written. Chang did a good job of putting probability into perspective with his example of the likelihood of, “drawing two red aces in a row from a full deck of cards.” I also appreciate the inclusion of the parenthetical information about WASP-18b being located in the constellation of Phoenix. Sometimes as a journalist you acquire a piece of non-essential information that you just can’t help but want to share with your reader.
Lastly, I enjoyed the link to the journal, Nature. I’m not sure that I have ever read a science journal letter before, and it was neat to hear about the astronomer’s findings in their own words. I can see how journals are incredibly useful resources for science writers.