Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pluto was a planet



“Planetarium, planetarium. Eight planets in my planetarium”, sang my sons while putting together a Solar System jigsaw puzzle.

It was an idyllic moment- the likes of come but rarely- both kids gainfully employed, doing something constructive, and enjoying each other’s company. And yet, there was a tinge of regret.

Regret for that little planet who always tagged along behind his considerably bigger brothers, but was now barred from that group. Pluto, who’s identity as the ninth planet had so cruelly been snatched away.

Soon, my kids will be old enough to ask why Pluto is on their Solar System puzzle.


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3 comments:

Bubbly Bala said...

I do so wish you had more such idyllic moments in your life. I can hardly believe they are sitting so peacefully and actually so comfortable in each others company. May be as they grow older and hopefully wiser they just might love each others company more and more and not not always crave attention from you all the time. I do hope I live to see that day.

laurele said...

Please keep Pluto in the kids' solar system puzzle and explain to them that to many people, both professional astronomers and lay people, Pluto IS still a planet. The demotion of Pluto was done by only four percent of the International Astronomical Union, most of whom are not planetary scientists, and it was rejected by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. You can find a copy of that petition here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/planetprotest/

Please do not blindly accept this controversial demotion and bar Pluto from the family of planets. Even now, many astronomers are working behind the scenes to get this demotion overturned. A decree of a tiny group cannot change facts. Pluto is round and orbits the sun; therefore, it is a planet. In fact, there are four additional round objects that should also be considered planets: Ceres, between Mars and Jupiter; and Haumea, Makemake, and Eris, which orbit beyond Pluto. Please teach your kids that our solar system does not have only eight planets.

Natasha Ramarathnam said...

Thanks, Laurele, for the long comment.
Me as a layman takes any decision made by a professional organisation as the final verdict, and in this particular issue, they did make a very strong case for demoting my favourite planet.

BUT, I am now telling my kids that Pluto was a planet, is currently not a planet but that the final decision on its status has not yet been made. Strangely, kids deal with such ambiguity with more maturity than we do!

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