Planet X in the Far-flung Outer Solar System #poem #poetry #astronomy #solarsystem #planet

Man From PLanet X movie poster

This is the best I can do, since there is no image of Planet X yet

Watching perturbations.
In planets far away,
In cold realms way-past Jupiter,
Past Saturn, wobbles sway.

When Lowell discovered Pluto,
A store of luck was spent.
The famous dwarf is just too small
To tug
Neptune’s
trident.

But orbital mechanics
Cannot be denied.
Something’s out there, far away.
Perhaps a Planet Nine.

Dwarf planets with companions
Among the plutoids hide.
The more we find, the better guess
Where Planet X resides.

Kate Rauner

Thanks to space.com for their article on Goblin (2015 TG387), another Pluto-sort of object tripped over in a long-term, ongoing sky survey that may ultimately find Planet X.

Hypothesized,
And we expect
Someone will spot
This Planet X.

The more plutoids
That we find,
The more our theories
Are refined.

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O Pluto, Pluto! Wherefore art thou #Pluto? #space #NASA #science

Tis but a moniker that yields strife;pluto-in-true-color_2x_JPEG-edit-frame
Thou art thyself, though not a planet.
What’s planet? It is nor rock, nor atmosphere,
Nor dwarf, nor comet,
Nor bow wave in the solar winds.
But intermediate twixt them all, and unique,
Orbiting the Sun.
Retain that dear perfection
And doff attempts to classify.
Oh, be some other thing!
That which we call a rose
By any other name
Would smell as sweet.

By Kate Rauner
With apologies to The Bard

Thanks to csmonitor.com and Plutophiles everywhere.

#Pluto – Ringleader of the #KuiperBelt

Pluto's heart shaped feature - NASA

Pluto’s heart shaped feature – NASA

Pluto and Charon – a double system that steals that uniqueness from Earth/Moon. Pluto – orbiting in an ecliptic plane all its own, weird compared to the Sun’s planets. Pluto – largest of the Kuiper Belt objects (that status retrieved from Eris thanks to New Horizons). Pluto – in its own vast ring of millions of objects, the largest known object in the solar system beyond Neptune. Pluto – whose minions have infiltrated closer to the Sun as Neptune’s moon Triton and Saturn‘s Phoebe.

Pluto – no dull, frozen lump. “NASA scientists giddily throwing around words like ‘amazing’ and ‘mind-blowing.’ The pictures appear to upend some of our previous ideas about the presumed dead, dwarf planet. Most notably, it might not be dead.” [cbc.ca]

It’s “geology is ‘astoundingly amazing,’ declaimed Jeffrey Moore, New Horizons co-investigator. He focused on the ‘vast crater-less planes’ he’s also calling ‘not-easy-to-explain terrain’ and ‘icy frozen plains’.” blog.seattlepi.com

Pluto sports “one of the youngest surfaces we’ve ever seen in the solar system.” Some ice peaks are as tall as mountains in the Rockies, and still rising from geological activity not understood. All this, and scientists have only received about 2% of the data New Horizons has collected.

Pluto – who needs to be called a “planet” by bureaucrats on some distant, inner sphere?

BTW 1 – I was also thrilled to discover, once again, that what I know ain’t so. I’ve had in my head that the Sun would appear as merely another bright star from Pluto. No so! “The Sun from Pluto is still pretty dang intense. It would hardly look like just any other star: it would greatly outshine everything else in the sky. Painful to look at, most likely.” badastronomy

BTW 2 – I don’t get personally agitated over calling Pluto a dwarf-planet. Human beings love words to the point of arguing over the abstraction rather than seeing the reality. Are viruses alive? Can an Australopithecus anamensis mother birth an Australopithecus afarensis baby? Is Pluto a planet or a dwarf-planet? These are questions about labels, not about reality.

I’ve quoted a few articles above, but search on “Pluto New Horizons” and you’ll find tons.

Pluto – We Are Coming

how I killed plutoWay back in 1999 I read a book Pluto and Charon – Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System by Alan Stern & Jacqueline Mitton. I learned that plutophiles share a remarkable dedication. For example, when a rare occultation of a star by Pluto was visible only in Israel, “[a]s luck would have it, the great Israeli-Jordanian airwar was just then taking place overhead… Almost unbelievably, [the astronomers] managed to observe the event despite the circumstances overhead…[producing] the only astronomical observation ever made through a sky filled with dog-fighting”. Their observations led to the discovery that Pluto has an atmosphere.

When Eris was discovered in 2005, it became clear Pluto wasn’t a unique oddity but a member of a class of objects – the largest “plutino” in the Kuiper belt, but smaller than Eris in the scattered trans-Neptune disk. Pluto was famously downgraded to dwarf planet status by the International Astronomical Union in 2006 and many people were furious.

The last chapter of Stern and Mitton’s book described the slow progress towards launching a mission to Pluto. The authors noted “it will take NASA more years to get the Pluto mission out of the Washington, D. C. beltway, than Pluto Express would need to cross the whole solar system!” But they were optimistic a mission would be launched and ended with “guard your secrets while you can, Pluto! We are coming.”

They were wrong about one thing – it only took seven more years to launch the spacecraft New Horizons on January 19, 2006; while it’s taken nine years for the craft to reach Pluto. Alan Stern leads its team. Its systems have been activated and the exploration of Pluto and its many moons begins January 15, 2015. [UPDATE: More posts from me on Pluto – Click Here]

Why spend millions of dollars to learn about a few rocky ice-balls at the edge of our solar system when there are so many problems here on Earth? That question implies money is all we need to solve our earthly dilemmas, but politics, prejudice, and pig-headedness are bigger impediments.

If we wait until we solve all of today’s problems, we’ll never get to tomorrow. As Bill Dunford said, why waste time trying to figure out agriculture? We have so much work to do hunting and gathering. Why spend effort on boats? We have so many issues here on the land. Why fiddle with computers? There’s so much calculating to be done with these pencils.

Why explore space? To find out why. Good luck, New Horizons.

Pluto! We Are Coming! #space #poem #poetry #writing #pluto #planet

If you were standing on Pluto...

If you were standing on Pluto…

Pluto, god of underworld,
God in darkness, god in cold,
Here you reign, but not below,
Not given domain over souls.

You mark an area of space,
Not under sea or under hill,
But far away and high above,
A belt of frozen volatiles.

Beyond the giant planets
Large objects should exist,
Not thinly scatter icy crumbs.
Never did we look for this.

Humans did not make the trip,
An imager will be our eyes.
We have a way to count the dust,
Spectrometers to scan your skies.

What surprises now await
To teach us of creation?
When sun was young and planets were
Early in formation?

Why are you red, not white or gray?
Our ignorance is stunning.
Now instruments are aimed at you.
Pluto! We are coming!

Kate Rauner

After a nine-year journey, NASA’s spacecraft New Horizons is about to answer some questions and raise a whole lot more.