Pluto here, you know, the former planet. Yes, I do still exist and I am doing just fine! I was the talk of the town for a while, back in 2006 when all of the astronomers got together and voted me off of the planetary island. I was so surprised to find out that I had been lumped in with the wrong group since I was first discovered back in 1930.
To be honest, I always felt out of place whenever all nine of us would get together. The other eight planets are all so much bigger than me! I felt like the runt of the litter. I mean, I am only twice as large as my biggest moon, Charon. The rest of the planets are WAY bigger than all of their moons. Also, the Great Eight (that is what they are calling themselves now) have such clean and tidy orbits. They all have really strong gravitational pulls and easily sweep up all of the asteroids, comets, and other space clutter in their path. My orbit has always been a bit messier, but I don’t really mind that. I like an orbit with a lived-in feel.
When the big decision was made, it left me feeling a bit lost. But then, the Sun told me all about the story of the Ugly Duckling. Have you ever heard that one? It is my very favorite story. You see, there was a strange, little duck who just didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the ducklings. The little duck felt alone and as if something was wrong with it. But then one day, the little duck stumbled upon a group of birds that looked just like it. It turned out, the little duck wasn’t a duck at all! The little duck was actually a swan. Once the little not-duck found out where it truly belonged, it didn’t feel so alone anymore. Just like the little strange duck, there was never anything wrong with me. I just needed to find the right group where I truly belonged. But don’t worry, I found that group in no time!
I am now officially one of the Dwarf Planets. There are only five of us in our whole solar system. We call ourselves the Fab Five! The oldest one is Ceres, who was discovered back in 1801! Ceres is the smallest and oldest of all of us. I’m the next oldest, and then there are the twins, Eris and Haumea. They were both discovered in 2003. Eris and Haumea always tells us that they are fraternal twins which means that they are not identical! Eris is way bigger than Haumea. And finally, the baby of the group is Makemake, who was discovered in 2005.
While there are only five known Dwarf Planets in our solar system, the word on the street is that there could be hundreds more that have yet to be discovered. Sometimes at night, I look out at the sky and think about all the other soon-to-be Dwarf Planets out there that might be feeling as alone and strange as I once did. I can’t wait for the day that I get to welcome them to my family. I’m so happy to be a part of such an inclusive group of celestial bodies. Well, I better get back to the rest of the Fab Five! Every weekend we go hiking through an asteroid belt and I don’t want to be late!