Sunday, August 27, 2006

Farewell, Pluto; Hello, Rhadamanthus

Remember Pluto, the "ninth planet", in the solar system?  Well, the International Astronomical Union says it ain't.  It is a "dwarf planet".

This was not unexpected.  I know a fellow who knew the fellow who discovered Pluto.  (I am only three degrees separated from Pluto,) He was Clyde Tombaugh, who once said, "They're only waiting for me to die before they reduce Pluto from the status of planet." It seems heartless to demote Pluto, yet they abstained until it's discoverer had passed on. That's astronomical compassion, I guess.

Ironically, I understand that Tombaugh's cremated ashes are being sent to Pluto by a space probe.  It will take eight years to get there, imagine. But it seems sort of appropriate, that will be his final resting place...but so far away.

Pluto must now take its place with other dwarf planets, transneptunian objects, such as centaurs, Neptune Trojans, Kuiper Belt Objects, such as cubewanos, Plutinos, and Twotinos, and Scattered Disk Objects, and Oort cloud objects. 

You can tell, I've been to Wikipedia. It lists about a hundred Transneptunian objects...too many to be named,  in fact.  Only thirteen are named.(Fourteen counting Pluto)

Here, so you can teach your kids about the new Solar System are the named objects that you used to call planets:

Logos, Deucalion, Quaoar, Huya, Rhadamanthus, Ixion, Varuna, and Chaos.  (Chaos is right.) And more....see the list.

You might try naming some yourself, but I suppose the astronomers who have discovered each are waiting to name them after themselves, their girl friends, or their "significant others".

 

3 comments:

garnett109 said...

Pluto is still a planet to me thats what i was taught and I'm Sticking to it!

kateh2ocolorart said...

garnett, garnett...the only constant in the universe is CHANGE!  Go with the flow...how about all the countries you learned in geography?  As a matter of fact, I have a movie I made in seventh grade called "Burma" which has been obsolete for some time.  (What's the name of that place now?  "Myanmar?"  Chuck was the camera man on the project, in fact!  We have to learn to keep "evolving" dude!  LOL

tendernoggle said...

I'm with Garnett...PLUTO IS, AND ALWAYS WILL BE A PLANET IN MY BOOK! lol Just cause....I say so! lol :-)
Carlene