Saturday, August 26, 2006


I feel a little down about Pluto's re-classification as a "dwarf planet." It seems wrong to revoke a celestial body's classification just because it's little. In Charlotte's Web, Fern yells at her dad when he threatens to kill Wilbur because he's a runt, and I feel the same way about our outermost planet. So Pluto's a runt! So what? I like Pluto's crazy, independent nature, its refusal to blindly follow the same path all the other planets take. It's like the inner eight planets are seated stolidly on the merry-go-round, obeying gravity and all that, while Pluto is riding the tilt-a-whirl, shrieking "Wheeeeee!"

This demotion also means that I'm going to have to come up with a new mnemonic device to remember the remaining planets' order. The one I've been using for the last couple of decades is one created by a fellow student in an astronomy class I took at UC Santa Cruz:

My Very Exotic Maserati Just Sped Up Nightmare Pass

I put it to you, faithful readers: can you come up with a catchy mnemonic for the planets to help this doddering old brain?


~ Lucy said...

I don't have a catchy new device, but I agree with you in terms of thinking it all a tad unfair. This morning on NPR somone came up with a cute new label for poor little Pluto: he referred to it as a "planette". I like it and plan to use it from now on. It just seems more gentle, don't you think?

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Chris Hyde said...

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Actually, I had some other thoughts regarding my very exotic mistress, but figured I should stay "clean" in my comments! :-)

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