Thursday, August 24, 2006

And then there were eight...

So today, Pluto officially got the axe as a planet. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, it's probably been a long time in the coming. As a planet, it really barely qualifies, especially considering its gargantuan neighbors in its neck of the woods. It isn't gaseous, it's half the size of our moon and its orbit is so wonky that for a good chunk of a Plutonian year, it's closer to the sun than Neptune.

But that still doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

Being such a science head growing up (and even now) it's going to take a while to get used to there being only eight "classical planets" as they're being referred to now. (Pluto is now officially classified as a "dwarf planet" but that's still not a planet, if you can follow that logic.) I was reading an article about how the widow of Pluto's discoverer (which, incidentally, was the only man in the Western Hemisphere to have discovered a planet. That is, until today.) was "shook up" by Pluto's demotion. However, she said her husband probably would have agreed with the reclassification because of the discovery of other similar objects in Pluto's region of space.

But I think, in the end, I probably prefer Pluto's exclusion from planetary status to the other option - including the large asteroid Ceres and a couple of other trans-Plutonian objects as planets, bringing the grand total to 12.

So I guess when Anna really starts to get "Interplanet Janet," I'll have some explaining to do.

It sucks to be demoted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm a little bummed about this, too. Nine seemed like such a lovely number. Eight seems too small, somehow. Oh well, everything changes, eh?