Friday, April 3, 2009

Science Poem: Intrasolar interloper

I'm participating in the Poem-A-Day Challenge over at Poetic Asides. Yesterday's prompt was "outsider" and I decided to write about the planet Pluto.


Intrasolar interloper
(dedicated to former planet Pluto)

On a rocky outcrop of your ice-laden heart,
we sacrificed your stature.

Despite seven-six years of service,
retirement was no guarantee.

Nix and Hydra still shadow you
holding up your Kuiper belt.

Your union with Charon, however,
remains an unconsummated affair.

Highly eccentric and inclined to dramatic
circles of ovoid oblivion,

You rotate off-kilter, adrift,
your volatile nature frozen in time.


Artist's rendition of Pluto and Charon

Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

1 comment:

Laurel Kornfeld said...

Pluto did not stop being a planet because 424 astronomers made a controversial decision and adopted a vague, unusable planet definition. The requirement that an object "clear its orbit" was concocted specifically to exclude Pluto and keep the number of planets in our solar system low. The IAU definition makes no sense in stating that dwarf planets are not planets at all, a departure from the use of the term "dwarf" in astronomy, where dwarf stars are still stars, and dwarf galaxies are still galaxies. Also, the IAU definition classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto's orbit, according to this definition, it would not be a planet either. A definition that takes the same object and makes it a planet in one location and not a planet in another location is essentially useless. You can find out more about efforts to reinstate Pluto and/or ignore the IAU decision at my Pluto Blog,