Monday, December 8, 2008
11 Planets by David A. Aguilar
Before we begin, I have a code that I would like someone to read: "My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants." This replaces an older, outdated, code that went like this: "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas." Can anyone solve either code?
You've probably noticed recently the convergence of the moon, the planet Venus, and the planet Jupiter in the southwestern sky around suppertime. Jupiter is now starting to pull away and will begin dipping near the horizon soon.
December is a great time to see the stars and planets at night if you can take the cold. However, there is a lunar event in December that I'm not looking forward to. I truly have one superstition that I really believe in. We call it, "moon madness." When there is a full moon, kids at CLMS seem to be at their squirrelliest. What's bad is the fact that this full moon in December will be the closest the moon will be to the earth the entire year. On Friday, December 12th, the moon will only be 221,560 miles from the earth.
I've always been interested in looking at the stars and planets. This week or next I plan to take out my December star map out and look at the night sky. It's a lot easier and more relaxing to look up at the stars in summer. Usually in August, by the campfire, I especially like to watch the Persied Meteor Shower and various satellites that race across the sky. Those of you who share a similar or greater interest in the night sky might appreciate the book 11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System by David A. Aguilar.
For most of my life I have understood our Solar System as having 9 planets. In 2006, Pluto was officially taken off the list. There has been a big debate about this in scientific circles ever since. Now there seems to be a movement gaining acceptance that suggests that our Solar System is composed of 11 planets. Pluto is back in! In addition to Pluto, two other planets have been added that fit the requirement of being called a dwarf planet. One is Ceres, which is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and the other is called Eris which is 10 million miles past Pluto. Eris was discovered in 2005 and its discovery led to the new classification of dwarf planet. Ceres has been known for awhile since being discovered in 1801, but now fits the new category.
The book reveals other things many of us maybe haven't realized or known such as: Venus is the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon and sometimes can be seen during the day, currently NASA's robotic rover named Opportunity is working inside a crater on the planet Mars, and something is mentioned about a strange object called Eggland.
I suggest you take a new look at our Solar System by checking out this new National Geographic book, 11 Planets by David A. Aguilar.
Did anyone solve the code? Mercury, Venus, Earth, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Eris.
For info on our local perspective on the stars and to get a star map to use from your backyard at night take a look at Mike Lynch's website.
NASA's Mars Opportunity Robotic Rover
Posted by Mr. S @ BC at 10:30 AM