Goodbye, Old Friend
Honestly, I didn’t know about this till I stumbled up on it. It seems I am unaware of events happening around me. And blogging didn’t help me either. If the other half of the world is ripped off our planet, I wouldn’t know about it either. And it would take me few years to know that our planet is only a half globe, the shape of sand cakes we make in coconut shells.
Till last week, if someone had asked me how many planets are there in the solar system, the answer would have been nine. I didn’t know about the fate of Pluto. The exclusion of Pluto from the list has left the solar system with only eight planets. Pluto was classified as a planet since its discovery in 1930, but in 2006, it was re-classified as a 'dwarf planet' by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). According to the IAU, dwarf planet is a celestial body orbiting the Sun, which is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, but is not capable of clearing its neighboring region of the planetesimals. (Any of innumerable small bodies thought to have orbited the sun during the formation of the planets) Other dwarf planets identified by IAU include Eris, Ceres, Haumea, Orkus, Varuna ,Ixion, Pallas, Hygeia and four yet unnamed bodies (2003 EL61, 2005 FY9, 2002 TX300, and 2002 AW197).
People the world over are divided into two groups - those who think there are nine planets, and those who know that there are eight planets.
In August 2006, the planet Pluto was eliminated from the list of planets by the International Astronomical Union. We now have only eight planets orbiting the sun. Clyde Tombaugh discovered the so called planet in 1930 at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona. Now you can forget that.
Also forget what we were taught as kids. I remember the list of planets was one of the long lists I had learned by heart.
To be considered a planet it should be a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a nearly round shape and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit. Pluto is taken off the list because its oblong orbit overlaps Neptune’s.
A friend of mine tells me that this whole thing is the fault of George Bush. He was responsible for the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami and Global warming. Now, “because of his inept administration we must eliminate Pluto as a planet,” a spokesman for the Curious Scientists Society said. ( I don’t brag, but incidentally, I am the President of the society, and due to sky rocketing real estate prices, we have our offices at my home). The spokesman for the group also said that “Bush somehow got the notion that Osama bin Laden was hiding on Pluto and demanded that our group vote to disregard it as a planet thereby eliminating his hiding place”.
In any event, we now only have eight planets and this should make it easier for the school children to learn eight rather than nine.
I don’t know what will happen to the astrologers who survive on the Navagrahas. (The nine planets)