Friday, August 25, 2006

Pluto's BUSTED

These planet people have gotten themselves into a real pickle. See, back in the 30's, when the Lowell Observatory discovered Pluto, they were quick to trumpet to the masses that they'd found a new planet. Everyone was happy, and we all rejoiced at how smart we were and how science was on the cutting edge of discovery (also known as a great way to get more funding). Since there was no real definition of a planet at that time, we earthlings signed Pluto up as a planet and never looked back.

Unfortunately, in the last 14 years or so, we've discovered a little something called the Kuiper Belt. It's basically a big, giant swath of Neptunian vomit that holds some massive celestial objects called KBOs, or, Kuiper Belt Objects. There are a several 1000km+ KBOs, including 2003 UB313, 2003 EL61 and Charon (Pluto's dancing partner, called a Plutino). Which means, basically, we f*cked up. Pluto really isn't all that special. And if we make Pluto a planet, we gotta make a whole lot of other space rocks planets, too.

So what do they do? They make a committee to determine what a planet is. Ladies and gentlemen, the [current] composition of your solar system:

--Eight "classic" planets (4 rocks, 4 giants)
--One big-ass asteroid (called Ceres)
--Three "Plutons" (Pluto, Charon, UB313)

Now, I hope we're all clear on that. Because I for one was getting really stressed out over all the inaccuracies. I'll expect that each of you will have this down by Monday. There MAY be a pop quiz. Now, go tell all your friends!


At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

UB313 sounds like a name for the bird flu virus. Like H5N2 or something, kinda boring if you ask me. Why don't you come up with a name for the poor not-quite-planet
mass of rocks?


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