my very easy memory jingle seems useful naming... ?!
This morning, every kids' science book in the world is wrong. Remember those mnemonics they taught you, for the names of the planets in our Solar System? My teacher favoured: "My Very Easy Memory Jingle Seems Useful Naming Planets". Well that's fucked now, isn't it.
A few months ago, I wrote about the epic battle between Xena and Pluto for the right to be called a planet.
As the Xena-fueled controversy raged without end in sight, a bold new model for the Solar System was proposed recently by the International Astronomical Union. This model involved the inclusion of Xena as a planet, as well as the similar orbiting object Ceres, while Pluto and its satellite Charon would be reclassified as a double-planet system. This would make twelve planets in the Solar System. TWELVE! Madness.
However, those cantankerous members of the Astronomical Union just could not agree. Some proposed creating a new definition - "plutons" - to describe these distant, tiny celestial bodies. Others didn't want a bar of it - refusing to acknowledge the proposed new planets, and even insisting that Pluto had been wrongly identified as a planet, since its discovery in 1930.
After what has been described as some of the most intense debate ever seen among astronomers (imagine!), the Union finally agreed on an "If you little shits can't share the balloon, I'm going to POP the muthafucka!" solution.
Xena is not a planet. Neither are Ceres, nor Charon.
And neither is Pluto. Pluto has been officially kicked out of the Classical Planets of the Solar System Club. It is, at best, a "dwarf-planet". Clyde Tombaugh must be weeping in his grave.
Even that little pussy Mercury gets his own Planet!"
Personally, I don't know what to think. It is exciting to be alive right now! The geek inside me is turning backflips (and it tickles!) But this development is also disconcerting. Everything I've ever learned and loved about the Solar System I call home, has suddenly changed.
Nine is a lovely number of planets to have in a Solar System. The number nine has a balance and symmetry to it. Eight seems an ugly number to be employed in the wheeling heavens. It's clunky and awkward. And it was nice to have Pluto around - kind of like a midget, hypothermia-suffering little brother who lived so far away you never saw him, but it was still nice to know he was out there. Now it's odd - he's not gone, of course. It's just like we've suddenly found out that - all this time - he was really a pet salamander and not your little brother at all. I hate when that happens.
Labels: fascinating junk