Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Neighborhood Just got Bigger

I remember my elementary school days when good old Mrs. Nix rode us sixth-graders like a rented mule so that we would memorize the names and stories of all the Roman gods, the most important of which were immortalized as the names of the planets in our solar system. Well, if she is still alive somewhere, she must be jumping for joy because we now have three more planets in our solar system to talk about.

The whole astronomical conundrum came to a boil when the IAU (International Astronomical Union) met recently to discuss the fact that several celestial bodies recently found to be orbiting our sun were (gasp) LARGER THAN PLUTO! So we were left with the choice of either admitting new members to the planetary fold or demoting Pluto, an idea that didn't seem to thrill anyone. They took an informal vote and have offered a proposal for a new planetary roster.

Lest you fear that the astronomers just went crazy adding planets willy-nilly, rest assured that there was a measure of restraint to the proceedings with an eye towards limiting the collateral damage all those text-book revisions will require. Here were the candidates:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn it all! My preschooler just learned the names of the planets last year. Her knowledge is already out of date, and she's only four!

And that UB 2003... needs a better name, no?