Fri, Aug
25
2006

So Long, Pluto!

Fri, Aug 25, 2006

pluto-cp-5599503.jpg

I heard the news from my mother:

Now only 8 planets! (The children will recover.)

The mnemonic will now have to be:
Men Very Early Made Jars Stand Up Neatly

Or My Very Educated Mom Just Served Us Nachos. (instead of Nine Pizzas)

The decision to shrink the number of recognized planets to eight rather than expand the number to twelve is, I believe, sensible, though sad. To keep Pluto in the mix added Charon, “Xena” and potentially forty other Kuiper Belt objects, and that struck me as a bit silly. Adding Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt, was the last straw for me. If it was going to be included, well there went the neighbourhood.

But I’m still a little disappointed that Pluto couldn’t have incorporated Charon’s mass and remained a planet under some sort of twin designation, like Newfoundland & Labrador. But, as my mom said, the children will live.

Cameron also said it well:

Yeah yeah yeah, nothing has actually changed except the way we look at things, but changing the way we look at things is one of the biggest changes we can make. When human civilisation is destroyed by a hammer of fire from the sky, it may not matter whether it was classified as a comet or as a fragment of cometary debris; the important thing is that the survivors will know that Thor didn’t do it.

(If there’s a comet or asteroid out there called Thor, please don’t tell me.)


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