Michael Byers recently wrote in the New York Times that Pluto ought to be a planet again. In fact, he suggested that if you’re used to a planetary mnemonic, such as My Veins, Eating Mint Juleps, Slowly Undulate Newer Pathways, then you think nine planets are just right. (I take credit for that mnemonic. Byers used a better-known one.)
I thought that there was a powerful counter argument to Byers, but I could not find a good way to phrase it, so I did not attempt to write a letter to the Times. However, Edward Reid of Talahassee, Florida, expressed the idea beautifully in the NYT on February ninth. He wrote: “… some of us live by the Holst Criterion: if Gustav wrote the movement, it’s a planet.
That musical judgment has been confirmed by scientific consensus only reinforces our convictions.”
In honor of Edward Reid’s letter, I plan to play the Holst Planets on Feb 15, 2011, in their intended order, which is something that I rarely do. Please listen in at about 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.