How can they just get rid of a planet? Especially one with such a friendly, Disneyesque name? For those of us who took pride in learning the names of the nine orbs spinning around the sun during our formative years, reading that Pluto has been demoted to a planetary putz is a great disappointment.
Apparently Pluto never even
deserved to have a name like the REAL planets, because it was just a
big ball of ice and mud. Even worse, it didn't have a good orbit. Well, excuuuuse me.
That means Pluto is no longer worthy of having
astronauts land a probe on its surface or drive a rover up and down
its hills. What an ignominious end.
It's like finding out your favorite
teacher was robbing 7-11s at night. But Pluto didn't do anything wrong
actually. We were the ones that said -- Hey, you're a planet, come on
Pluto was just spinning around
trying not to hit anything and we were the ones that gave it the big
idea that it was something special. It's not like Pluto came knocking
at our door trying to pass itself off as something it wasn't.
So, if there's any blame to go
around for this huge mistake, it belongs to the astrophysicists who
think they know everything and we don't.
The problem began because Pluto was
so far away you had to squint to see it, which probably contributed to
the confusion. At least we were finally able to send the Hubble
out there along with all those other cosmic dohinkies that give us a more up close and personal view.
Turns out what we thought was there wasn't what we thought was there.
I, for one, am happy that other
balls of ice and mud won't suffer the same fate. When I first saw how
planets were discovered I wondered why more mistakes hadn't been made.
Basically, you take pictures of all
the stars in the sky at night. Do this every ten minutes for years.
Afterward you get to look at huge black and white photos of thousands
and thousands of white dots. Then, specially trained people who
got their degrees in counting white dots compare the distances between
all the dots until they notice that one of them has moved a couple of
millimeters to the left or right. Next, this movement has to be confirmed by
Finally after years of waiting,
one of them decides, "That's a planet." Like I said, because this
important work is done by astrophysicists, nobody dares to ask, "Are you
sure?" Since they'd just laugh in our faces.
So this poor, unassuming ball of
mud and ice named Pluto was thrust into the spotlight, where it enjoyed
planetary fame for over seventy-five years. And never abused the
privilege I might add.
Then at this last meeting of the Interplantary Nerds and Geeks, they
voted to impeach it. Not for any infractions. But, because, like most
bureaucracies, they've changed the rules about what can and what
cannot be a planet.
What do they say when they dump a planet?
"Okay, all you planets revolving around the sun -- step forward. Uh, not so fast, Pluto."
The tiny little planet I loved from childhood is gone.
So long my friend.