Posts Tagged "planets"

Pluto, New Horizons, and Perspectives on Dwarf Planets

Dear Kid,

Pluto is in the news! (The planet, not thePluto. But not a planet. dog.)

As reported by a bunch of news agencies and (more importantly) re-reported by Uncle David to me:

When the New Horizons space craft flies by Pluto tomorrow, it will be 3 billion miles from earth.

It was launched in January 2006 — and to reach Pluto has been flying 1 million miles PER DAY.

To put this in perspective… if the sun were the size of a quarter and were placed on the goal line of a football field, Earth would be at the 3 yard line and Pluto would be 18 yards beyond the far goal line.

This means it takes a radio signal traveling at the speed of light 4.5 hours to reach the spacecraft.

Nevertheless, to achieve the maximum from its experiments, the spacecraft must pass through an imaginary window only 60 by 90 miles wide… within a time parameter of 100 seconds!

To put this in perspective…

Let’s say a parent gave a Kid $100. By 2015 that money would have grown to…wait a minute. That money would be long spent. Dumb analogy.

One wonders who gets the frequent flyer miles for a flight that long…

In other Pluto news, it will take 16 months for the New Horizons probe to send back all the information it collects.

To put that in perspective…about as long as it will take for a parent to learn about something interesting that happened in their kid’s life.

Dwarf. But not a planet. DearKidLoveMom.comAnd in still other Pluto news, there is a movement rebellion protest objection among some astronomers and other scientifically-oriented people about the whole “dwarf planet” thing.

“Dwarves are miners who sing Hi Ho,” said absolutely no one. “They are not planets.”

Actually, the issue isn’t about whether any large, orbiting body should be a dwarf planet, the issue is whether this particular large, orbiting body should be a dwarf planet. Official people say Yes, it is because we said so. Smart people (and by “smart” I mean me and other emotional people plus a bunch of folks who know what they are talking about) say No, it’s as much a planet as Jupiter.

So far, Pluto hasn’t weighed in on how it self-identifies. Maybe we’ll find out in 16 months.

Love, Mom

Share the love. Pass on the perspective.


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Cinco de Mayo and Other Important Events of May 5

Cinco de Mayo! DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

It’s Cinco de Mayo and there is a lot to celebrate.

In 1260, Kublai Khan became the ruler of the Mongol Empire. It’s not clear that fair and democratic elections were held (and by “not clear” I mean they weren’t). But for Kublai and his campaign team, taking over meant no more door-to-door campaigning which probably bummed out Kublai, but undoubtedly made Mrs. Kublai pretty happy.

In 1494, Christopher Columbus spied Jamaica mon. He did not pick up a native accent.

In 1762, Prussia and Russia signed a peace treaty ending the Seven Years War. Putin’s predecessors ignore the terms.

In 1809, Mary Kies becomes the first woman issued a US patent for weaving straw. If she had figured out how to weave straw into gold more people would know about her.

In 1865, the first train robbery in the US took place in North Bend Ohio. This was not a banner day for North Bend, but the robbers probably felt pretty good about it.

In 1891, Music Hall (later renamed Carnegie Hall) opens giving birth to the joke “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, practice, practice.”

In 1930, Amy Johnson took off on her flight from England to Australia (the first woman to make the flight solo). In other flying news, Jesse Owens sets the long jump record at 26’ 8 ½” in 1935. And then in 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. Extra points if you know the name of the craft he flew in.

Continuing with spacey events, the Iridium-1 ( of the Delta 2 program) launched successfully on May 5, 1997, and in 2000 there was a conjunction of Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and our Moon (which means they all lined up and which is therefore pretty rare).

Hope you have a high flying day.

Love, Mom

Riding in the Freedom 7 space capsule, Shepard was the first American astronaut to travel into space. The suborbital flight, which lasted 15 minutes, reached a height of 116 miles into the atmosphere.



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