Thought #37. Dust.

In the sixteenth century Nicolaus Copernicus developed a theory in which he positioned the Sun near the centre of the Universe, with Earth and the rest of the planets, orbiting around. Despite being imprecise, his theory had laid the foundations for more accurate hypothesis that would be proved in the following two centuries. Now, we know full well that neither the Earth nor the Sun are at the centre of the Universe. In fact, we already know about the existence of exoplanets, which are planets beyond our solar system. As of today, 3475 of those have been confirmed. Kepler 150-f, an Ice Giant, is the latest discovery.

How are exoplanets found? Being completely ignorant about this subject, I would never dare to give a detailed explanation. However, according to NASA’s website, the vast majority of exoplanets are detected by using a technique named Transit. Stars dim when a planet passes directly between the observer and thus, studying the amount of light shed by a star, we can detect the presence of orbiting planets. Logically, we have not yet seen a fraction of the potential solar systems among the stars that are visible at night with the naked eye. The Universe has immense proportions.

Bearing in mind the immensity of the Universe, I would like to radically change the subject and finish today’s post by talking about dust. Not stardust or cosmic dust, just dust. The one that settles between the observer and the object.  The one that accumulates on cupboards, desks, chairs, kettles, souvenirs, or any other banal item. The arch-enemy of allergics, the annoying thing, which triggers a look of disapproval on your mother-in-law’s face. That is the dust that really matters today. Ergo, I would like to praise dust effusively.

The reason is simple, dust has the ability to tell a story. A storyteller that can reveal the amount of time that has passed since you had a coffee, you read that novel, you played the piano, you used that sunglasses, you cooked your mother’s recipes, you had sex, etc. Because dust does not accumulate on living objects, at least on those parts that we regularly use.

Look around you. Read. Be an explorer like those of NASA who are trying to cast light on the origins of the Universe or the origins of life. Let dust orbit around you, love it, praise it, take care of it. In the end, you will be dust too.