Quit Changing Your Mind!

August 24, 2006 psipsina

Astronomers are not known for their fickleness – there is something about the gravity of dealing with large masses in space that leads to a kind of steadiness, I suppose – so I have to say I find it astonishing just how fast they’ve changed their minds about poor Pluto.

Last week, when the new definition of planet was revealed, the astronomers decided there were 12 planets, including Pluto.

Today, apparently, poor Pluto has been deplanetized, stripped of its status, demoted to a mere dwarf.  Why?  Because it has the nerve to cross Neptune’s orbit once in a blue moon.  To be a planet, apparently, you have to do what psychologists call respecting other people’s boundaries.  (Apparently the other 3 new planets faced a similar fate, though as of this writing I haven’t learned why they were disqualified.)

C’mon, boys and girls, make up your minds.  ‘Cause I don’t want to wake up next week finding out that Pluto, and that rock Ben gave J Lo several years ago, are in, but Jupiter is out because it keeps stealing Neptune’s crayons.

Personally, I have some fondness for the ancient Greek concept of planet.  (This will not surprise my St. John’s friends.)  Planetos is Greek for “wanderer,” and a planet is a celestial body that changes its position among the stars, as seen from earth.  I know, it’s quaint, but it has its uses.

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Entry Filed under: astronomy, fickle, j lo, planet, pluto

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