5 drastic astronomy upgrades since I was in school…

It’s a very Moony system, you know
Did you know that both Saturn and Jupiter have more than 60 moons each? More are being discovered all the time. In addition, Saturn has 150 moonlets. Uranus has 27 moons and Neptune more than a dozen (the number Saturn/Jupiter was once supposed to have).
(What has poor ole Earth done to deserve just a solitary moon?)

A billion planets out there and we’re stuck on this one
So far 450+ extrasolar planets have been discovered (outside our solar system). Scientists estimate that there are more than a billion planets in our galaxy alone!
(With so many possible planets, a big Boo! to all those experts who claim that there is no chance of life elsewhere.)

Our sun may have a Nemesis…
The Nemesis Star Hypothesis states that a smaller star/sun (brown/red dwarf) may be circling the sun, making our solar system a binary star system!
(Two Suns, Two Lives, Two Loves, Two Chances, Two Gods…)

From 9th to almost Lakhon main ek
While everyone knows that Pluto has been downgraded, did you know that it is now merely a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO)? One estimate says that there are 70,000 KBOs of more than 100kms diameter! Plus Pluto is not even independent, but part of a binary system with Charon. And its new name is 134340 Pluto.
(Whatever made Pluto think that it could be a planet? It sure fooled us for 75 years!)

A humongous cloud where comets are born
Have you heard of the Oort Cloud? It’s far beyond the Kuiper Belt. That’s where comets are born. Large objects are pushed from this place to become comets with a tail as they come near the sun. How many objects are there which are larger than 1km? Trillions!
90377 Sedna, a potential Dwarf Planet may live here.
(Mujhe nahin maloom tha ki Hailey’s Comet ke itne saare bhai hai.)

Parting Shot: So the true picture of our solar system is four inner planets, followed by the Asteroid Belt with thousands of objects, followed by four outer planets with hundreds of moons and moonlets, followed by the Kuiper Belt with tens of thousands of objects, followed by the Oort Cloud with trillions of objects, followed by maybe another sun.
We are also surrounded by trillions of stars in the universe with billions of planets and millions of Black Holes.

© Sunil Rajguru

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