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Why is the Earth so pleasant?
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I'm Robert Massey and I'm here from the Royal Astronomical Society which is one of the biggest astronomical organizations in the world and we look after the interests of astronomers not just in the UK but across the world. What I'm going to do today is give you a few pointers to get you started in astronomy which I think is one of the most incredibly interesting subjects there is. There are very many things about the Earth that make it a special place. Obviously, the most important thing of all is that it has lots of life and abundance of life, so many millions and millions of different plant and animal species. The reason the Earth is so pleasant is that it's exactly the right distance from the sun. If it were further out, it might be too cold. If it were closer in, it would be too hot. But it's in exactly the right place, smack in the middle of what astronomers call the Goldilocks Zone. It also has a big moon to stabilize its axis. It doesn't wildly swing around so we don't generally get very very sharp changes in climate, just the kind of thing that keeps it habitable and a pleasant place to live. We also are lucky enough to have an abundance of liquid water on the surface, one of the key ingredients that allows, at least, human beings to thrive and we also have the other advantage of a big magnetic field that keeps out a lot of the harmful radiation from space that would eventually actually help strip away from of our atmosphere. So, all these things together make it a rather special place and it's no surprise that astronomers are looking elsewhere in the universe, looking elsewhere in the galaxy for planets and other stars like the Earth because they think that planets like the Earth with that special set of circumstances are good places to search for life. .