May 16, 2017
My son Chris and I got back Sunday from a week-long visit to Philadelphia. We spent time with old friends and also attended a meeting of the Chester County Astronomical Society, which was conducted at West Chester University. The guest speaker was Ed Guinan, a Villanova Ph. D., whose topic was "Proxima Centauri: Is Anybody Home At Our Closest Star?" Actually, Professor Guinan went beyond Proxima Centauri, looking at the odds around the neighborhood. The bottom line: We've located some relatively nearby worlds orbiting in the Goldilocks Zone. We have no definitive evidence of life, but there's a decent chance. I found myself thinking about Stephen Hawking and his comments that we'd be much safer if we were alone.
In any case, the professor gave us an intriguing evening. He described some of the techniques used to measure the possibilities, and it became clear he'd like very much, like probably everybody else in the audience, to get a definitive answer.
My invitation to the event came from Donald Knabb, the society's treasurer. I'd like to recognize all the people who took time to welcome me, but there were just too many. But I have to mention Phil Rossomando, Outreach Coordinator of the Planetary Society, and Roger Taylor, President of CCAS. And I also enjoyed meeting Barb Knapp, their librarian.