on mnemonics in space

I remember being deeply upset when I heard about Pluto’s demotion to non-planetary status. I have very fond childhood memories of our class unit on the planets (say it with me: My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos does not have the same ring to it at all). Well, a couple of weeks ago, my dad and I were visiting the California Academy of Sciences, a wonderful museum that was overhauled and rebuilt several years ago, and opened last year. They have a planetarium, so we caught a show (note: these kind of things are way more interesting when there’s an astronomer sitting next to you that will tell you afterwards what they got wrong). Before they started the actual movie thing (which was very good and informative and spectacular: the amazing graphics and computer animations and space photos kept the kids entertained, the information was interesting for the adults, and the seats were comfy. Plus, Whoopi Goldberg was the narrator), a man showed us a scale model of the solar system to illustrate the comparative distances between planets. He included Pluto, “because it wasn’t fair” that it had been resized to a dwarf planet, and a lot of people – including myself – started clapping. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with an unhealthy attachment to a bundle of rock and ice so many light years away.

oh, and by the way, if I miss Pluto as a planet too much, I can always go and live in Illinois, where the senate has declared that Pluto still is a planet, even if it’s only in their state..

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