The theory of a large planet lurking somewhere far past Neptune has been around for a while. But just recently scientists have found some real evidence for its existence. They say there are objects in the Kuiper Belt that wouldn’t move they way they do if that planet was not there. The alleged planet is so far away that we can’t see it from here, so who knows how long it will be until we can capture a picture of it, assuming it even exists!
Real or not, how do you think Pluto feels about everyone already calling this mysterious object a planet? 😉
NASA’s New Horizons craft has been travelling for 9 years and will be arriving tomorrow (7/14/15) at Pluto! NH will just be doing a fly by before it heads further out into the Kuiper Belt. Int he mean time, we have been getting some WONDERFUL shots of Pluto, and finally figuring out he has a bit of a reddish color (previously I colored him purple in the comic. That’s changed now).
This is super exciting and I hope you are all watching New Horizons as closely as I am!
Later on today (or early tomorrow morning if you’re in Europe like me) the Mars Curiosity Rover will complete its eight month journey to Mars and land on its surface in preparation to learn more about our dry neighbor, mainly if life has ever existed on the red planet. Until now, three rovers have successfully landed on Mars, this will be the Fourth. (positive thinking here, people)
Only one of the three existing rovers continues to function and send data back to Earth. In addition to the now defunct robots, there several some crash landed remnants from failed missions. With all of this equipment just laying around, perhaps Mars is collecting it all and doing something with it. You never know 😉
I’ve mentioned once before that our sun is entering its Solar Maximum, meaning its highest activity in its 11 year cycle. In astronomical news right now we’re hearing a LOT about a sunspot that is much larger than Earth that is generating some pretty massive solar flares and has the possibility of generating powerful solar storms. So far, none are headed in our direction. But go HERE to read and watch a short video about the activity on the surface of our sun right now.
And if you’ve ever seen a video of the Sun unleashing a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection), you’ll see that the sun always has ways of reminding us of its power.
Oh, if you’ve never seen one, watch this:
I admit it. I am still bummed that the solar system I grew up with is not the same. Well, it IS the same, it’s just classified a bit differently. It’s still a little hard to say that we have eight planets, not nine. It’s been 6 years now, so I should just be over it, right? Well, I HAVE accepted it, I just feel a little sorry for the guy. So, of course he gets a place in Cosmical.
There are plenty of good reasons Pluto doesn’t fit in with the rest of the crew. Pluto’s orbit doesn’t lie on the same plane as all the other planets in our solar system. It’s tilted at a 17° angle. And for a portion if his orbit he’s actually closer to the Sun than Neptune is since their orbits intercept. Also, Pluto’s moon Charon is around half Pluto’s size and they, plus two tinier moons, orbit around a central point that is NOT Pluto. It’s like Pluto is running in circles chasing his tail. 😉
The big reason why Pluto isn’t a planet is because he hasn’t cleared his orbit. There’s a buch of other stuff sharing his orbit and he hasn’t dominated that orbit yet.
But I can’t obviously show any of these things in the comic. So, in Cosmical, Pluto is a cyclops. But he’s spent such a long time being accepted into the ranks of “Planet,” that he can’t really see his differences himself.
If you want to understand more about why exactly Pluto isn’t a planet then go here. There is a GREAT video to watch which should clear it all up for you.
I’ve had this idea bubbling in my head ever since I started seeing Jupiter and Venus getting cozy up there. But the idea was rounded out when I was walking in the city the other night admiring the two on my right and then saw poor, lonely Mars floating around on my left. So tonight I had to make it tangible 🙂