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Skywatch

Tue May 24, 2016 ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22nd, 1859. He was, of course, the creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, one of my favorites. It bothers, me, though, that Holmes didn’t know anything about astronomy, nor did he care. When Dr. Watson informed him, for instance, that the earth orbited the sun, he replied, “What… is it to me? You say we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or my work.” But I think that if Holmes gave astronomy a chance, it would appeal to his powers of observation, and of his deductive and inductive reasoning. Through induction, Holmes could infer that if we live on a planet, one of many, that goes round the sun, then it would be logical to assume that there were other planets out there, going round other suns. And he did say, “When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Sounds a lot like black holes to me!