Other stars, other planets, and other life: a primer that goes two-thirds of the way: Niall Deacon: Twenty worlds: the extraordinary story of planets around other stars. London: Reaktion Books, 2020, 216 pp, $22.50

Metascience 30 (1):153-156 (2021)
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Thanks to advances in astronomical measurement and computer modeling, “now we know thousands of worlds” (Deacon 2020, 7). By contrast, “in 1990 all we could say was that one star, the Sun, out of hundreds of billions, definitely hosted planets” (ibid., 18). The word “definitely” does a lot of work here. Knowledge does not require, and indeed rarely attains, certainty, so we might rephrase the foregoing as “in 1990 all we could say with sufficient assurance was that one star, the Sun, out of hundreds of billions, hosted planets”. Yet, long before recent breakthroughs, many suspected that other planets orbited other stars...
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