Thursday, August 6, 2009

Strange Planetary Alignment and all I got was a T-shirt.

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This summer, a good friend of mine took his familiy on a vacatation through the south west. Along the way they stopped in at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. They returned with some great memories and a few gifts including this wonderful Pluto T-shirt.

It shows the outer planets in white with the dwarf planets Ceres, Pluto, and Eris in blue.

But wait! What do my eyes behold. A strange planetary alignment. Is it just artistic license or could it be a harbinger of 2012? Are the very discoverers of Pluto in on some grand doomsday conspiracy?

On closer inspection, something else seemed wrong too. But what could it be?

A quick check of the JPL Orbit simulator for Eris shows us a different picture.

Not only is there no planetary alignment in 2012, but Pluto and Eris are inclined along very different axes.

Artistic license or conspiracy aside, I still love the shirt. It's a pitty they don't seem to be available online.

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