From Mercury To Neptune In Two Minutes

Yes, it does not take any longer to cross the orbits of those planets (if one goes up to the Observatory).








And then there is


Poor Pluto. 76 years after his discovery in 1930 he was demoted to the status of dwarf planet.

Don’t worry, Pluto, I like you nevertheless just as much as your big buddies – and like to hop over your orbit.

7 thoughts on “From Mercury To Neptune In Two Minutes”

  1. Didn’t astronomers just discover another planet, farther out than Pluto? We went to the McDonald Observatory this spring when we were in West Texas. We went to their night sky show. It’s in a sort of amphitheater. The star guide has a powerful flashlight he points into the sky to highlight constellations and such. He named off several star clusters. He was rolling along “And this one is M-14, a beehive cluster; this is M36, a spiral galaxy, and this is M24 and that one is M42.” About then, someone in the back called out “Bingo”. I got the giggles and couldn’t quit laughing. Another place we can never go back to.

    After the star show, we could go to individual telescopes set up outdoors with an astronomer (grad student) at each one to explain what we were seeing. Everyone’s favorite was Saturn. The rings were so plainly visible.

    On a sad note. Tonight is the peak night of the annual Geminid meteor shower. I have finally figured out a couple of places we might go to get away from light pollution and really get a good look at the meteors. All my scheming is to no avail. It’s raining here, and going to continue raining till tomorrow. And it’s cold, too. I’ll have to wait till the Perseids now. I love meteor showers.

  2. Yes, that would be 2003UB313. It showed up on pictures taken at the Palomar Observatory at the end of 2003, but somehow nobody actually noticed that it was a new planet until early 2005. They still call it by its number, no new name has been allocated yet.

    Speaking of the Palomar Observatory – an old college buddy of W. is working there. To my shame I have to admit that we have not yet managed to go there, even though we have a standing invitation.

  3. What I’ve always wondered is who came up with the constellations. None of them except the dippers look to me anything like what they’re supposed to be. I mean, Ursa Major – bear, where? I’m doing good to pick out the larger planets.

  4. If I remember correctly, the story goes like this: Zeus, the lusty one, had a thing going on with Callisto. Callisto became pregnant (“but we did it only once, I swear!”) and had a boy. Hera, who had just about had it with Zeus and his ladies, got really angry and by magic changed Callisto into a bear to roam the woods.

    Fast forward: Son of Callisto grew into a strapping young man and was out hunting. He saw a bear – and Zeus, up on Olympus, nearly fainted – the boy was going to shoot his mother! Quickly he changed the boy into a bear too and tossed both of them up to the sky. And there they are – Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

    Those Greek gods. Always up to no good. But we got some nice star formations out of it.

  5. Completely off the subject, but it would certainly be lovely if you’d take some photos of The Empress and Her Minion and post them. I’d love to see pics of them.

  6. They’re right here in the blog.

    Go to “Pretty Critters”. The two portraits there are the beasties. And I won’t even need to tell you who is who – their facial expression is easy to ready.

  7. My stupid. I never made it to “Next Page” till you told me to look in “Pretty Critters”. I’d looked there, but only on the first page. Yes, Julchen looks browbeaten in that photo. And The Empress looks like…an empress.

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