24 Aug

Pluto’s Out!

A week ago, this worldwide association of astonomers voted to add three new planets to the solar system. Pluto’s moon (or twin planet, depending on how you look at it) Charon would be included, as would some other big floating rocks by the names of Ceres and Xena (named after the Warrior Princess).

Last week’s proposal would have led to potentially hundreds of new planets had it passed. But it didn’t pass. Instead, the astronomers of the world started questioning the definition of “planet.” The simplest one was something like this: “any spherical object that orbits the sun and doesn’t orbit other space objects (thus ruling out moons, which orbit planets).” Way too general. There would have been planets everywhere, for crying out loud!

The alternative to this outlandish proposal was to oust Pluto by setting some sort of size limit and by saying that the object must have cleared everything else out of its path around the sun. Pluto is smaller than our moon and it passes through this big asteroid belt, so its path isn’t clear.

Personally, I was leaning toward eliminating Pluto since its orbit is slow as hell. It takes 248 years for that slow-ass ball of rocks and gas to get around the sun. I mean, in the Tour de France, if you don’t meet the time cut-off, you’re out. And in the Ironman, if you don’t cross the finish line by 12:00 midnight, that’s it. You’re not an Ironman.

It would suck to have to bag the race minutes from the finish line after 17 hours of competing, but hey, if you want to play with the big boys, you gotta meet some standards. Pluto’s been in the race for 76 years, but I’m through waiting for it to get its act together and step it up.

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