Flashback Friday: Uranus & Pluto

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It’s Friday the 13th! Eek! Everybody…RUN! Hide! Yeah, well, enough of the hysteria. We have plenty of that going on with the corona beer virus. Sugar, rice, pasta, Clorox & Lysol hand wipes, bleach, hand sanitizer and toilet paper doesn’t stand a chance. Now, we have to deal with the dreaded number 13. E-gads! The humanity!

March 13 has been a rather busy day in history. Curiously, Uranus and Pluto are involved.

Uranus Image One
Uranus and its rings.
Image Credit: mirror.co.uk

Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun. The name of Uranus references the ancient Greek deity of the sky Uranus, the father of Cronus (Saturn) and grandfather of Zeus (Jupiter) […]. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in [our] solar system and, […] is the only planet whose name is derived directly from a figure of Greek mythology. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune and, both have bulk chemical compositions which differ from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. Uranus’ atmosphere is similar to Jupiter’s and Saturn’s in its primary composition of hydrogen and helium but, it contains more “ices” such as water, ammonia and methane […]. It has the coldest planetary atmosphere in the solar system […]. Like the other giant planets, Uranus has a ring system, a magnetosphere and numerous moons. The Uranian system has a unique configuration because its axis of rotation is tilted sideways, nearly into the plane of its solar orbit. Its north and south poles, therefore, lie where most other planets have their equators. Voyager 2 remains the only spacecraft to visit the planet.

Like the classical planets, Uranus is visible to the naked eye but, it was never recognised as a planet by ancient observers because of its dimness and slow orbit. [Two hundred, thirty-nine years ago, today], Sir William Herschel first observed Uranus on March 13, 1781 (from the garden of his house at 19 New King Street in Bath, Somerset, England, now the Herschel Museum of Astronomy), leading to its discovery as a planet, expanding the known boundaries of the solar system for the first time in history and making Uranus the first planet classified as such with the aid of a telescope.

Pluto Image Two
Dwarf Planet Pluto
Photo Credit: forbes.com

Pluto is an icy dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, a ring of bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune. It was the first Kuiper belt object to be discovered and is the largest known dwarf planet. Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 as the ninth planet from the Sun. After 1992, its status as a planet was questioned following the discovery of several objects of similar size in the Kuiper belt. In 2005, Eris, a dwarf planet in the scattered disc which is 27% more massive than Pluto, was discovered. This led the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to define the term “planet”, formally, in 2006, during their 26th General Assembly. That definition excluded Pluto and reclassified it as a dwarf planet.

It is the ninth-largest and tenth-most-massive known object directly orbiting the Sun. It is the largest known trans-Neptunian object by volume but, is less massive than Eris. Like other Kuiper belt objects, Pluto is primarily made of ice and rock and, is relatively small…about one-sixth the mass of the Moon and one-third its volume. It has a moderately eccentric and inclined orbit […]. This means that Pluto periodically comes closer to the Sun than Neptune but, a stable orbital resonance with Neptune prevents them from colliding.

[Observations] of Neptune in the late 19th century led astronomers to speculate that Uranus’s orbit was being disturbed by another planet besides Neptune. In 1906, Percival Lowell, a wealthy Bostonian who had founded [the] Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, in 1894, started an extensive project in search of a possible ninth planet, which he termed “Planet X“. Lowell and his observatory conducted his search until his death in 1916 but, to no avail. Unknown to Lowell, his surveys had captured two faint images of Pluto on March 19 and April 7, 1915 but, they were not recognized for what they were.

Percival’s widow, Constance Lowell, entered into a ten-year legal battle with the Lowell Observatory over her husband’s legacy and the search for Planet X did not resume until 1929. [23-year-old] Clyde Tombaugh, who had just arrived at the observatory, discovered a possible moving object on photographic plates on February 18, 1930. After the observatory obtained further confirmatory photographs, news of the discovery was telegraphed to the Harvard College Observatory ninety years ago, today, on March 13, 1930. Pluto has yet to complete a full orbit of the Sun since its discovery, as one Plutonian year is 247.68 years long.

The discovery made headlines around the globe. Lowell Observatory, which had the right to name the new object, received more than 1,000 suggestions from all over the world, ranging from Atlas to Zymal. Constance Lowell proposed Zeus, then Percival and finally Constance. These suggestions were disregarded. The name Pluto, after the god of the underworld, was proposed by Venetia Burney (1918–2009), an eleven-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford, England, who was interested in classical mythology.

Additional Reading:
Voyager 2 in the Uranium System (Zenodo site)
Uranus (NASA site)
Uranus (MIRA site)
Bath Preservation Trust
Eleven Awesome Facts About Pluto (geek.com)

16 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Uranus & Pluto

    badfinger20 said:
    March 14, 2020 at 1:03 AM

    Uranus… insert Beavis and Butthead laughter.
    Where is Jason Voorhees when you need him on this day? Oh he is disinfecting himself right now.

    Pluto was my favorite planet in school. Why I don’t know…maybe because it was the smallest and we knew less about it…then they totally took it out of the planets all together.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      March 14, 2020 at 1:29 AM

      Yeah. LOL! EVERYONE loves this planet’s name. But…it is Greek mythology. Blame the Greeks. LOL!

      I choked on my drink, envisioning Jason disinfecting himself… We need a Friday the 13th: Corona Beer Virus movie. Ree…ree…ree…ree…ree…ree…

      I don’t even remember learning about Pluto in school. Every time I hear Pluto, I think the dog.

      Yeah, once they found Eris, that was it.

        badfinger20 said:
        March 14, 2020 at 1:43 AM

        Maybe I liked Pluto because of the Disney connection. It was interesting because can you even imagine how cold it would be on that planet? Well it’s still a planet to me! I must defend my Pluto.

        Yep…Jason is spaying his mask and coughing into his arm…NOT his hands!

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          March 14, 2020 at 2:41 AM

          It is a planet. They classify it as a dwarf planet, now. They questioned its status in 1992 with the finding of others like it but, when Eris was found, it was bigger. It’s still legendary because it was the first found past Neptune. Hell, astrologists are adding other planets, asteroids and comets into the mix of what “affects” us. It’s all relative, I suppose.

          OMG! LOL! And, he secretly has a respirator behind his hockey mask and a hoard of toilet paper.

            badfinger20 said:
            March 14, 2020 at 3:03 AM

            Yea a dwarf planet…now it’s a red headed step child. I really loved studying the planets…almost as much as dinosaurs.

            LOL I never thought about a respirator.

            I tell you who is ready for this virus…Darth Vader. He has it going on…protected from head to toe!

              The Hinoeuma responded:
              March 14, 2020 at 3:16 AM

              LOL! Yeah. They be dissin’ poor Pluto.

              I actually learned more in middle school than I did in high school. Science was fun back then in the late 70s.

              Vader has the ultimate respirator…I can hear him breathing, now.

                badfinger20 said:
                March 14, 2020 at 3:24 AM

                Whenever I hear someone breathing hard…I have to catch my damn breath. I do it everytime. My grandmother was the same way.
                Yep they are picking on Pluto! I’m always for the little guy…I’m a fighter for lost causes.
                It was fun back then.

                  The Hinoeuma responded:
                  March 14, 2020 at 2:32 PM

                  You are adorable.

                    badfinger20 said:
                    March 14, 2020 at 2:41 PM


    bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
    March 14, 2020 at 5:04 AM

    When I was at school we had a mad science teacher who banned the word Uranus. He would say kids can’t be trusted with that word. So we had to always call it the Seventh Planet. I completely forgot about that. Thanks for reminding me.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      March 14, 2020 at 2:37 PM

      LOL! That’s great! Adults can’t be trusted with the word, either. We devolve into giggling five year olds saying it. “Captain Kirk! The Klingons are circling Uranus!” 😂

      Happy to remind you. Thanks for the share!

    Dayphoto said:
    March 14, 2020 at 11:14 AM

    I always enjoyed thinking about Pluto…it’s insane here…all the grocery aisles are empty, people in panic mode.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      March 14, 2020 at 2:50 PM

      Same here. I hit Costco Monday & most everything was there except sugar, rice, Kirkland-brand TP, Clorox hand-wipe bottles and a two case limit on water. Why sugar & rice…IDK. 😳

      Hit a Food Lion & our local organic market, yesterday. FL had lines of people. A longtime FL employee remarked that she’d never seen it this bad, even during our snowstorms & hurricanes. And, she has been at this store in this small town for 20 years.

      The market was stocked pretty well but was running out of breads, dried fruits and natural remedies. I got an email from them (I am a paid member) and they had ramped up cleaning & sanitizing things. They won’t allow personal cups and all utensils are recyclable.

      I certainly hope things calm down soon.

        Dayphoto said:
        March 14, 2020 at 4:54 PM

        Me too. Sometimes I think it is all fear. Horrible fear. Real, but not to the level we have it going on. I saw a lady loaded up every ham there was in Safeway meat bin. She even had a frenzied look to her face and a dare me stance about herself.

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          March 14, 2020 at 11:48 PM

          Yeah, see, that is just too much. And, I agree…the fear is being ramped up on purpose, to me.

            Dayphoto said:
            March 15, 2020 at 11:57 AM


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