Re: Survey of American Attitudes Toward and Knowledge of Science

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 22:04:00 MDT

Everitt Mickey wrote:

> You too? I got sent home from school.......fifth grade i think......cause I
> stubbornly insisted that Pluto WASN'T the 9th planet....THEN (about
> 1956....pluto has a very eccentric was the 8th planet from the
> sun at that time....probably still is come to think of it)....

Everitt, this website claims Pluto was inboard of Neptune in the
interval between 1979 and 1999. Now of course, Pluto still isnt
necessarily the *ninth* planet as your (and my) teachers insisted, since the
the moon is not really orbiting the Earth. The moon's orbit around
the sun is concave everywhere, which is to say, when the moon is
between the earth and the sun, it is pulled more toward the sun than
the earth. So the moon is a small planet, co-orbiting with the Earth.

Pluto and Charon swap places with Neptune for positions nine, ten
and eleven. Of course this is all semantics. (There are eleven
commandments too, count em, Exodus 20). Now the big debate
is whether Pluto/Charon should be considered a planet at all. The
astronomy community graciously waited to say much about it until
Clyde Tombaugh, Pluto's discoverer, passed away, which he did
three years ago at the age of 91.

Many of us here have shared the wonderful experience of hearing
baloney in our science classes and wondering if its worth a trip to
the office to set the record straight. {8-] spike

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