The “Star Wars” saga isn’t exactly a science textbook, but there’s one fact about the universe that the movies got dazzlingly right: There are more planets out there than you can shake a lightsaber at.
Back in 1977, the movie now known as “Star Wars: A New Hope” put an assortment of alien worlds on display. There was Tatooine, a desert planet with two suns. Alderaan was Princess Leia’s home planet and the epicenter for a “disturbance in the Force.” Rebels took refuge on a moon in orbit around the gas giant Yavin.
In those days, the idea that there could be so many livable worlds seemed like pure science fiction. “For the most part, scientists thought planets were very rare in the universe,” said Jeanne Cavelos, an astrophysicist-turned-author who literally wrote the book on “The Science of Star Wars.”
Now we know better.