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Starstruck

Randy Wyrick
ALL |

If it was a pop star, it would be known as the Planet Formerly Known as Pluto.

For the uninitiated, 424 astronomers got together in a former Iron Curtain country ” the International Astronomical Union in Prague, Czech Republic ” and decided on the last day of their meeting that under their new rules, Pluto doesn’t make the cut as a planet. It’s now a dwarf planet.

Perhaps a plannette?

In less-than technological terms, it’s basically a big ball of ice ” not unlike some of the people we’ve had relationships with in our past.

“Pluto is not a planet,” said Caltech astronomy professor Mike Brown. “There are finally, officially, eight planets in the solar system.”

I want credit for all the times in elementary school I said there were eight planets and the teacher insisted there were nine. My refusal to believe her resulted in another trip to the principal’s office and a mark on my permanent record.

I want it expunged.

Pluto and its moon Charon would both have been planets under the initial definition proposed Aug. 16, along with 40 or so other celestial bodies, none of which was found in the recent Miss Universe pageant.

Pluto, the scientists said, gets demoted because it’s part of a sea of other objects that occupy the same region of space. Earth and the other eight large planets have cleared broad swaths of space of any other large objects.

By that definition, former NFL great linemen Jerry Kramer, Jim Otto, Gary Zimmerman and Bubba Smith could be planets. Besides, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune all have asteroids as neighbors.

The word “planet” originally described wanderers of the sky that moved against the relatively fixed background of a star. When it was discovered in 1930, astronomers thought Pluto was larger than it is. Presidential candidates are like that. And like presidential candidates, Pluto has an eccentric orbit that crosses above and below the main plane of the solar system.

Rev. Wendi WolfWoman Robinson keeps track of this sort of thing. Hers is a fifth-generation pioneer family on the Western Slope. She earned degrees in geology and engineering. These days she founded and runs the Spirits of NativeLIGHT and Spirit Journey Academy in Grand Junction. Rev. Wendi has been in contact with Guides since she was a small child and has studied and worked in the field of holistic wellness and metaphysics for more than 45 years.

Whether Pluto is a planet, the aforementioned big ball of ice or an asteroid on steroids doesn’t really matter, at least not in her industry. From an astronomy aspect they can do whatever they want, she said. From the standpoint of astrology, it won’t make any difference.

“Most astrologers, those who’ve been in the business a long time, use the asteroids extensively. It’s been years since I’ve done a chart without them. Some of the minor asteroids have more impact than the recognized planets,” Rev. Wendi said.

Pluto is the ruler of Scorpio, Rev. Wendi said. Its aspects are power, trasnformation, regeneration and in some cases destruction ” like the destruction before rebuilding. It brings to light what was previously hidden, Rev. Wendi said. It governs our awareness of the impermanence of life, our psychological and emotional ties.

“Pluto’s very important. It’s a planet of transformation, one of two planets that govern Scorpios,” she said. “You’ll find it in the chart of an intense and forceful person, the kind of person good at getting to the bottom of a situation. In Scorpio, Pluto often indicates power struggles, contentiousness and sharing, which can often be both a problem and a solution.”

Scorpios like Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice spring to mind.

Michael Lutin, author and astrologer who writes for Vanity Fair, agrees with Rev. Wendi.

“It doesn’t matter what something’s called. Pluto was discovered in 1930. There are always new bodies being discovered. We have to put them into charts. We have to keep evolving,” Lutin said.

“It’s like when penicillin was discovered, you can dig in your heels and say, ‘I like leeches,’ but that won’t change the fact that penicillin is here.”

Since 1994, Pluto has been in the sign of Sagitarius, which means upheavals of religion, Lutin said.

In December’s Vanity Fair, he’s writing about how Pluto will effect the U.S. in the next 20 years.

“Pluto’s very strong here,” Lutin said. “New York City is the outpatient ward of the universe.”

Astronomers have argued since the late 1990s on whether to demote Pluto. Public support for Pluto has weighed heavily on the debate. One astronomer said his e-mail box was filled with hate mail from third graders.

“They had such problems with this because Pluto didn’t want to be demoted,” said Rev. Wendi.

Caltech’s Mike Brown put it this way to MSNBC: “For astronomers, this doesn’t matter one bit. We’ll go out and do exactly what we did,” Brown said. “For teaching this is a very interesting moment. I think you can describe science much better now by explaining why Pluto was once thought to be a planet and why it isn’t now. I’m actually very excited.”

“You haven’t really changed the situation, you’ve just shifted your paradigm, the way you’re thinking about it,” Rev. Wendi said.

Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado


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