Pluto’s Song

Clare and the Reasons has a beautiful, witty and tender song about Pluto and it’s demotion to Dwarf Planet. It’s a great bit of songwriting.

I’m not really particularly upset about the International Astronomical Union’s 2006 decision, though I see that many people still are. Our view of the universe, and of our solar system, is getting increasingly complex, which in turn is challenging our nomenclature. There are other Pluto-sized objects and is probably worth creating some new categories. There’s some good, too: Pluto now has a number as well as a name. 134340: the secret agent dwarf planet.

Anyway, people will argue and change their minds, and Pluto will still go on being what it is, a tiny satellite of the sun, “way the heck out there,” to quote a friend’s college astronomy teacher. I don’t think it was hurt in the least, so let’s save our pity for humanity, and, in terms of positive action, spend some time in wonder at the complexity of our solar system. A planet that’s almost a star (Jupiter) and a mini-solar system all it’s own, the Kuiper Belt of dwarf planets and other satellites, the Oort Cloud where ghostly comets come from. It’s huge, and it does not demonstrably care about us. The song, however, remains lovely poetry:

Now all the planets will gather around and have a thing for you
They’ll wrap their orbits warmly around you and send you off with love
Chin up pluto the stars still want you and we down here do too
you know what to do, just keep on keeping on

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One thought on “Pluto’s Song

  1. Just to clarify, Doug – it was “It’s WAY the hell out there!” (with considerable emphasis placed on “WAY”).

    Prof. Ed Delano, in response to my friend Greg’s question about how far Pluto is from the Sun – Fall, 1984.

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