Thursday, February 19, 2009

Backwards around the sun

Speaking of orbits... Oh wait, we weren't speaking of orbits -- not right now, anyway. That was awhile back, when we were talking about Pluto. Anyway, I read this morning about Lulin, a strange, greenish comet with a backward orbit around the sun.

The odd color and orbit are about the only newsworthy things about Lulin. The closest it will ever come to Earth is 38 million miles, so there's no danger of a world-destroying collision. This time, at least.

Lulin's greenish color is caused by carbon and cyanogen, a poisonous gas. The comet hails from the boondocks of the solar system, 18 trillion miles from earth, and it hasn't been close enough to the sun before to burn away its original gases.

That 18 trillion number is nearly twice the size of our rapidly growing national debt. Oh, but wait, that's another story too.

While all the planets and most other objects in the solar system circle the sun counterclockwise, Lulin has a clockwise orbit, flying backwards around the sun.

In that sense it is kind of like those who want to set aside the same-sex marriages that took place before Proposition 8.

But of course, that also is another story.


Anonymous said...

So should we fly out of our orbits in panic about impending collisions with Lulin or continue in our current hysterical responses to other things?
Requesting guidance, here.

Anonymous said...

Lulin is like our society - backwards and out of orbit. Correction greatly needed to straighten its path.

Leslie said...

Maybe Lulin is just left-handed.