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Setting The Universe On Its Ear

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-Anchor Harry Smith.
I don't know if you saw this the other day, but, scientists at Cal Tech have found a planet that's served by not one but three suns. That's news because astronomers have been pretty sure that planets always rotate around a single sun like in our solar system. This planet, which "Star Wars" fans will recognize as being just like the one Luke Skywalker calls home, is not so far away -- about 149 light years from earth. It's not close enough for a getaway weekend but, relative to the size of the universe, which no really knows, that's close. The nearest galaxy to the Milky Way, Andromeda, is two million light years away, so you get the picture.

Stars like company. They often occur in twos so I suppose it should not be such a big leap to think that maybe three of them have their own planet.

Might it be that those suns revolve around the planet? Crazy question I know but, there's nothing like setting the universe on its ear to make us think beyond our little orb called earth. And setting the universe on its ear is a formidable task. The universe we know about -- what we can see is about 28 billion light years in diameter. Yes, that is bigger than a bread basket. And big enough perhaps that a lot of things we don't think are possible might just be. You think?

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith

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