I’m your moon, you’re my moon

Poor Pluto.

One minute you’re a planet, albeit a rather cold and lonely one, shuffling your feet in the less fashionable corner of the solar playground, but you do at least think you belong. And the next minute, some minor lifeforms on a distant ball of rock decide otherwise. And there you are, stuck out in the freezing confines of the Kuiper belt, stripped of your planetary status, dubbed a dwarf, while all the bigger planets snigger at you and steal your lunch money.

What’s more, all of a sudden, Many Very Eager Mice now have nowhere to Jump Swiftly Up. Much to Nanny’s relief. Still, the power of interplanetary rodent uncertainty is not to be underestimated.

But back to Pluto. Although it is no longer a planet, nor even the largest of the dwarf planets in the solar system, Pluto is still quite special. Because in all its loneliness, out there, so far from the sun, Pluto is not alone. Pluto has an unusual partner, its moon, Charon, is not only unusually large (almost half the size of Pluto) and close to Pluto, but they are also locked face to face, spinning around each other on a strange sideways orbit, like ballroom dancers on Celestially Come Dancing. Dancing with the Stars, literally.

I know this is hardly news, all the kerfuffle about Pluto’s demotion went on many moons ago, (see what I did, there?), but I was listening to the very sweet song “I’m your moon” by the awesome Jonathan Coulton (who totally deserves a proper note all to himself), and it just got me thinking. Pluto is indeed out there in the naughty corner, but it has something none of the other planets have. It’s special. So screw all those big bullies, Pluto, you do it your way!

Besides, those big bastards have terrible gas, I’ve heard.

poor-pluto
After I had written this, I found this rather neat little illustration by a very talented young man, and thought it was just perfect... click on it to visit his site!
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