Many of us might remember the memory device to get all the solar system planets named in order of distance from the Sun:
My Very Exited Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas.
Take the first letter of each word to remember planet names:
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto
That last one, Pluto, is the focus of many astronomers this week. The space probe New Horizons will be arriving there on July 14. Of course, the International Astronomical Union has reclassified Pluto as a Dwarf Planet, but Pluto probably doesn’t care. As the first known member of the Kuiper Belt, dwarf planet Pluto might still have things to teach us about our solar system.
Being so distant from the Sun, Noon on Pluto is about as bright as the time here on Earth a little after sunrise or a little before sunset. NASA is asking us to acknowledging “PlutoTime” by sharing pictures of landmarks at that special time when light on Earth closely matches light on Pluto at Noon.
So here I am, at Cline Observatory again, noticing just how bright it appears at 8:42 on this summer evening. Thanks to Barbara for taking the nice picture.