On Kindergarteners and the Kuiper Belt

Today I had another planetarium show scheduled for kindergarten kids. If you do planetarium shows for kindergarten kids, you need to have a position on the status of Pluto -- it comes up a lot. My personal opinion is that there are no compelling reasons to call Pluto a planet. Let's just call it a Kuiper Belt object and get it over with. I usually find some excuse to bring this up, and so I'll mention to kids that there are objects like Quaoar, Sedna, and now 2003 UB313 that are causing us to reconsider our classification of Pluto.

During this group that was visiting today, I did the same. I mentioned Quaoar and Sedna, and most of the kids started laughing. One of them raised his hand, and he said (and I am *NOT* joking) -- don't forget Ixion and Varuna.

Ok, so he probably went on the web and looked this up with his folks, but still, it's not every day that a random six year old sitting in our planetarium knows the names of the 1000 km scale KBOs.

It is days like this that somewhat lessens my fear for the future of science.


Blogger James Fox said...

What about Orcus?

As an aside, this certainly scuppers the notion that we have to keep the number of planets down, so that kids can remember them.

10:21 PM  

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