Monday, June 15, 2009

an idea

I'd like to write a set of poems or song lyrics on the planets. The sort of thing I did for jupiter (back here) I'd like to do for each of the other planets. The idea is that I spin a tale around a few (very romanticised) facts. Currently thinking about poor old Pluto. I experimented with an idea here (I know it's obscure. Ten points for anyone who worked out that it was an acrostic!) but would like to expand it into something longer. What do you think?


  1. Yes I was gob-smacked at a trivia night a few years ago to be told I was wrong in stating that there were 9 planets. I still remember my acrostic. I mustn’t have been paying any attention when Pluto was dumped.

    Sounds like a nice idea - I admire your attempts to write anything creative!

  2. Pluto is still a planet; you're not wrong. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. One reason the IAU definition makes no sense is it says dwarf planets are not planets at all! That is like saying a grizzly bear is not a bear, and it is inconsistent with the use of the term “dwarf” in astronomy, where dwarf stars are still stars, and dwarf galaxies are still galaxies. Also, the IAU definition classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto’s orbit, according to the IAU definition, it would not be a planet either. A definition that takes the same object and makes it a planet in one location and not a planet in another is essentially useless. Pluto is a planet because it is spherical, meaning it is large enough to be pulled into a round shape by its own gravity--a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium and characteristic of planets, not of shapeless asteroids held together by chemical bonds. These reasons are why many astronomers, lay people, and educators are either ignoring the demotion entirely or working to get it overturned. I am a writer and amateur astronomer and proud to be one of these people. You can read more about why Pluto is a planet and worldwide efforts to overturn the demotion.

    In fact, if we use the broader planet definition favored by Stern and like-minded scientists, that a planet is any non-self-luminous spheroidal body orbiting a star, our solar system has 13 planets and counting: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.

    Don't leave out Pluto, and don't go along with the claim that we only have eight planets. That is one interpretation, not "the truth."