There’s a tenth planet out there in our solar system. At least according to some American astronomers. Coming just days after the Spanish announce their discovery of some other celestial body navigating our sun.
Excited by the news, I immediately sent an email to two of my astronomer friends to guage their reaction.
The first maintains “that we live in a system populated by only 8 wanderers.” And, flatly, that “the largest objects of the Kuiper belt should hardly be considered planets.” The second declined to comment.
Which made me wonder, what makes a planet a planet? Pluto is small. But this thing is at least more than double Pluto’s size. The orbital plane is offset 44 degrees to the rest of the solar system. But Pluto, which we commonly accept as a planet, is off, according to an unreliable and somewhat confusing source on the web, orbits at 32 degrees due to a myseterious twelfth planet. But the repulsive magnetic forces of the sun are righting the planet. Given enough time, I suspect similar mechanisms would operate on our new eleventh. (The chronology is a bit fuzzy here. We just found a tenth; where’d this well-established twelfth come from?) Maybe this will renew interest in, and funding to NASA.
But I’m getting myself into some dangerous territory, and I don’t want the guys on This American Life to accuse me of being a modern jackass. So I’ll admit my ignorance and get off the planet here.
In other news, I suddenly remembered that I don’t have to snoop around the internet to find new music. Instead, I can just walk over to one of our music and media libraries and borrow new stuff.
Because I missed the reenactment today, I got me a CD of period music from the American revolution. Since I was in the area, I picked up some Duke Ellington and Jim McNeely, too.
Perhaps jazz isn’t the healthiest thing for me. It makes staying up in the middle of the night really, really tolerable.