Astronomy and Astrology: When Size Doesn’t Matter


The astronomical world was upended by the discovery of a new orbiting body, 2003 UB313, which was eventually named Eris. Larger than Pluto, and another recently discovered body Sedna, it’s discovery begged the question of what makes a planet a planet.

When Sedna made her transplutonian presence known this same notion was visited, but no headway was made, since Sedna is smaller than Pluto, and was safely classified as as a planetoid, that is until Eris came along.

Pluto is a small planet, so small, that some astronomers are called for the recall of Pluto’s planetary status. The astronomical community was not so sanguine with this idea. In the scramble to define what made a planet a planet Pluto was reclassified in the new class called dwarf planets. Thrown into this mix is Ceres, (thrown in and out of the Planet Club since her discovery in the 1800’s), Eris, Sedna, Haumea, Varuna, Makemake and Quoaor. And the list grows.

Astronomy and Astrology divorced several centuries ago. That’s all well and good, but who has custody of the kids? Like divorced parents, both sides of the isle respond with differing perspectives. While Astronomers struggle with classifications and definitions, Astrologers work with thousands of years of observations to define how planets and planetoids work in our lives. Pluto will always to be a planet to Astrologers because it demonstrably stimulates a transformative process, as anyone with a Pluto transit to a personal planet will attest to. The newly discovered dwarf planets have a ways to go before we peg them down, but preliminary work show that these bodies pack a powerful punch too. In astrology, despite what the International Astronomical Union says, size does not matter.

Photo printed under a Creative Commons License from XKCD

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