Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dark Matter Galaxies, and the Loss of a Literary Star reports the apparent discovery of "Hobbit" galaxies—tiny, ultrafaint, dwarf galaxies in our local group—which appear to consist mostly of dark matter. Though they were observed by their stars, which presumably are made of normal matter, gravitational calculations based on the movements of the stars indicate that the galaxies are 100 times more massive than the estimated total mass of their stars. The rest? Dark matter, more than likely. The findings will be published in the Astrophysical Journal in November.

Meanwhile, you may already have heard that Madeleine L'Engle died on September 6, 2007, another great loss to the book world. She is best known, of course, for the A Wrinkle in Time series of young adult novels, but she wrote many other books, as well. (Her official web site)

I never got to meet her, though we exchanged some correspondence once. Paradoxically, I didn't discover her books at a young age, but as an adult. (Someone tried to turn me on to A Wrinkle in Time at a particularly sensitive age—when I didn't want to read "YA" and I didn't want my SF to read like fantasy. So that effort failed. But I tried the book years later, and that time it clicked. Marvelous.)

Farewell, creator of Mrs. Who and all the others. And thank you.

"You have to write whichever book it is that wants to be written. And then, if it's going to be too difficult for grown-ups, you write it for children." —Madeleine L'Engle

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