Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today's Menu: Tiny Baked Planets with a Side of Turkey

Every time I see Jupiter, which looks simply like an incredibly bright star, I feel a sense of wonder. This wandering planet feels so close I want to reach out and grab it with my hand. For several reasons, this is not at all possible. First of all, it is rather far away--approximately 391 million miles away. In addition, Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, measured at 1300 times the size of Earth. Which is what I will be after my two delicious Thanksgiving dinners.

I have this little book, called The Pocket Guide to Science, edited by E. E. Free, and published ever so recently in 1923, and this is what it says about our beautiful solar system: "It is made up of our sun and the planets which revolve about it. There are eight planets: Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. There are also several hundred tiny planets, the largest only 532 miles in diameter, which travel in orbits between Mars and Jupiter. These are too small to be seen except through powerful telescopes."

The thing about planets, especially the tiny ones cluttering up our space, is that although they are rather far away and rather large, they are still similar to many things on our planet. Like potatoes. I feel as though I will be spending a lot of time peeling potatoes today: two delicious Thanksgiving dinners, and only four hours apart. You will probably be peeling potatoes, too. And if not-- go help your mother, right now!

And while you're peeling potatoes, imagine that they aren't in fact, tuberous vegetables, but some of those tiny planets traveling between Mars and Jupiter. Today, think conservation! We can all work together to keep our solar system tidy by eating tiny baked planets with a side of turkey.

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