Pluto's demotion spoils plan for planetary pizza parties
Who should decide the fate of future planets? I think we should: the eight-year-olds of this world. We are the ones who look at the heavens at weekends during visits to the planetarium with our dads. We are the ones who memorise the number and order of planets in school, and we are the ones who dream about what is out there to discover.
Thursday's decision by the world's astronomers to kick out Pluto as a planet and not approve three new ones cost me four toppings on my planetary pizza this weekend. We were planning to organise a planetary pizza party every time a planet made the official list. Just imagine the fun. We could invite friends over and make pizzas with 11, 12 or more toppings circling our pineapple sun.
I really don't understand why adult astronomers are so worried about having more planets. Everybody knows that the world has changed a lot from when Pluto was discovered in the 1930s. Astronomers have discovered many objects in the sky which are not yet taught about in schools because they have not made it onto the official list of planets.
So here are an eight-year-old boy's reasons why we should have more planets on the official list:
Going to the planetarium would be even more fun, since there may be a new planet to learn about each time;
Having more planets would confuse teachers (which is always a good thing to do) but would offer a more realistic picture of our galaxy;
There would be more interesting books in the astronomy sections of libraries;
New objects in the sky would get real names. Who wants to be called UB313 (unidentified body 313)? If I was a planet, I would prefer a name like Vulcan or Terminus; and
We could think of new ways to remember the names and order of planets. If the International Astronomical Union had approved the original draft definition of a planet, then the 12 planets could have been remembered as: Most Very Excited Musicians Can Just Sing Under Nightingales and Play Cool Xylophones (which stands for Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon and Xena).
Although the astronomers' vote has spoiled a lot of our fun, we are glad they have finally made a decision. We find it easier to follow adults' rules when they don't change them all the time.
CHRISTOPHER BRADSHER and DANIELLE D. BRADSHER (his planetary guide), Mid-Levels