Posted to the UseNet Newsgroup "alt.astronomy"
To get it all together here are the reasons why the Moon will
someday be officially reclassified a...
Full Fledged "Major Planet"
1) The size of the Moon relative to most natural satellites
and, more importantly, the Moon's size relative to our planet
2) The "barycenter", also called "center of gravity" (CG) of
the Earth-Moon system is about 3,000 miles out from Earth's
center toward the surface, or only about 1,000 miles below
3) All major planets always "fall" toward the Sun. Satellites
sometimes fall toward the Sun and sometimes move away
from the Sun. Our Moon *always* falls toward the Sun. The
Moon's open orbit around Earth means it never goes fully and
completely all the way around our planet!
4) The way the Moon "fits in" with the other solid planets.
Earth's sister planet, Selene, fits in very well with these other
5) Natural satellites orbit their primary planets directly
above the planet's equator. Major planets orbit the Sun on
or near the ecliptic. Selene's orbit around the Sun (and the
Earth) is off the ecliptic by only 5 degrees. Selene varies
fully 18-23 degrees off the Earth's equatorial plane.
6) The Moon's orbit is far too distant from Earth to be either
a true satellite or a captured one.
Now, here's one more little thing for you to consider. Here it
is, just for you...
Isaac Asimov, who was one of the most gifted people to ever
grace and space our minds, was the one who thought of all
these reasons. Asimov truly believed that one day, perhaps
several years from the time he wrote his essays on the Moon,
the global astronomy community would finally realize that our
Solar System has another distinct major planet. Isaac Asimov
truly believed that the Earth and Moon together form a binary
Well, official reclassification didn't happen in his lifetime. Isn't
it interesting how science will move so quickly to rename some
things in light of new evidence (for example, like changing the
"Andromeda Nebula" to the "Andromeda Galaxy") and then
move very slowly, or not seem to move ever at all, even when
the evidence *so strongly* suggests that renaming is needed?
Ah, but it would take more than just a renaming, wouldn't it?
It would take a reclassification of the Moon from "satellite" to
"major planet". Even some classical poetry might be rendered
impotent. We have been viewing the Moon as going completely
around the Earth for far too long, i suppose.
Imagine... even back when the last holdout finally gave in to
heliocentrism--the belief the Sun is the center of the Universe,
and that the Earth revolves around the Sun instead of the
other way around--even that last holdout could say, "Well, at
least we still have the Moon. If nothing else goes around the
Earth, at least the Moon still does!" And yet, even this we find
to be wrong due to a limited perspective. Our Moon doesn't
completely orbit the Earth at all. It orbits the Sun in careful
step with the Earth. Maybe it's all just too hard to swallow?
Anyway, if long after i'm dead and gone, ya'll do decide to
stop calling a planet a satellite, then you may need a new
name for the Moon. I mean... you *can't* keep calling it "the
Moon", after all, because a moon is defined as a satellite. Its
other name, the Roman "Luna", won't do either because,
while it happens to be a pretty name for the goddess of the
Moon, it is still too closely identified with the "Moon is just a
satellite" idea. On top of this, "Luna" has all those negative
associations such as "lunatic" and "lunacy" and those ever so
controversial "lunar" landing missions. <g>
For me, of all the potential new names for the Moon, by far
the most beautiful, seductive one is...
That's pronounced seh-LAY-nay, and is the ancient Greek
name for the goddess of the Moon. This name does not wear
the cloak of "satellite" so much as "Moon" and "Luna" do.
I think "Selene" sounds rare and beautiful!...
much like our mysterious partner in space!...
very much like our rare and beautiful sister!...
happy days and...
starry starry nights!
P.S. Thank YOU for reading!
P.P.S. Some secret sites (shh)...