Tenth Planet

First photographed two years ago, but announced Friday, three astronomers have discovered a body larger than Pluto orbiting about nine billion miles away.

The artist’s depiction is just to the left here.

Is it a planet? This will reignite the debate. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) ruled several years that Pluto remains a planet in their consideration. This, despite the fact that Pluto is only about 700 miles across, a third of the moon’s diamater.

My sense is that other bodies larger than Pluto will eventually be discovered. Instead of adding these to the list of planets, I suspect that eventually Pluto will be retired from the list of major planets. That doesn’t diminish the importance of Pluto or these other “near-planets.” The Hubble Space Telescope has been able to image Pluto and its moon. Here’s its best shot:

Above is a simulation of Pluto as seen from its moon Charon about posting time. It would appear about this big in the sky from that cold, cold, place.

Amazingly enough, astronomers have actually been able to deduce a rough map of Pluto, seen here:

(Please don’t tell me you can see Jesus or the Blessed Mother in this anywhere.)

Nice place. If you like your atmospheric gases as constituents of a sno-cone. But if you ask me, it’s not a planet. Not quite. Sorry, Clyde.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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