Kepler and the Dancing Planets

“He struggled through the rough emotional seas that creative minds must navigate—first up, then down, first elation, then depression. And yet he loved it so. He was, after all, a man who rummaged for God in the balances of his own mind. For him, the geometry of the heavens, the dances of the planets, the secrets of the universe were more real than the twists of human politics, for the first was complete with mystical joy, while the second was full of fear.”

—James A. Connor, Kepler’s Witch

An artist’s conception of the Kepler-11 System, a group of planets orbiting a distant star. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, named after early 17th century astronomer Johannes Kepler, detected the system. Image credit: NASA, Tim Pyle