Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ceres makes a come back

Mills of the gods

Apparently responding to the unremitting pressure from literally dozens of blogers, the Astronomical convention meeting in Prauge appears ready to back down on demoting the Planet Pluto from its planetary status.

But the relief of Science Fair Judges everywhere is short lived. There is now a proposal to add three new planets to the solar system, making the millions of solar system models and mobiles made for fairs and projects over the last seventy five years totally incorrect.One of the proposed new planets is Ceres. Back in the early 19th century, Ceres was a planet. It stayed a planet for about half a century and was demoted to an asteroid by Sir William Herschel because of its size and lack of "disc like" appearance. Well it may have been a small planet, but it was one big damn asteroid, making up about 50% of the mass of all asteroids.God only knows how Ceres has suffered over the past century and a half from its demoted status. The redheaded step child of the solar system, the planet that could not cut it.

This rush to make Ceres a planet again appears to me to be a left handed compliment at best. A still living Astronomer recently discovered a planet like object (nicknamed Xena after the famous syndicated television show starring Lucy Lawless) and the convention wants to make it a planet. But it can't be a planet unless Pluto stays a planet and Ceres reclaims its planet hood. Things would be just too inconsistent. Ironically, Pluto would not only stay a planet, but one of it's moons would become a planet under the new system.This is unfair to our moon, the object closest to us and the moon all other moons were named after. The only moon with an American flag flying over it and the subject of thousands of beautiful ballads. It also slights some moons of Saturn which are pretty damn big objects, at least one of which may support life. What do you have to do to get these guys to make you a planet ? It is all politics, planetary politics. It is not what you are, it is who you know.At any rate, I see a long period of adjustment coming up. If I was participant in a science fair, I'd go with the baking soda volcano this year.


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