That’s no dwarf planet…

July 15, 2015 • 9:00 am

by Grania

Jerry forwarded this on to me doing his best Castiel impression.



For the other three of you out there who, like Jerry, also do not get this reference, it’s a Star Wars thing. Episode IV*, A New Hope for the sake of completeness.

* Episode IV was technically Episode I, just so there’s no confusion.

Hat-tip: John Williamson

34 thoughts on “That’s no dwarf planet…

  1. I posted this earlier today by sharing from “I fucking love science” Facebook group. Lots of great science posts there.

    1. This discovery is a perfect example of the serendipity that can occur when you are poking around at the limits.

      “We asked a graduate student [Nathan Jurik of Syracuse University] to examine what we thought was an uninteresting and minor source of background events, just in case it happened to be a nasty source of experimental noise,” Stone says. “He did it begrudgingly but came back with a big smile on his face because there was a huge and unexpected signal. We told him to forget about what he was working on and focus on this instead.”

      Love that.

        1. And why funding curiousity is important!

          try explaining that to a beancounter.
          It’s almost worth leasing a baseball bat to try to get the message in. (Leasing is, of course, more tax efficient than actually buying equipment. Most of the time.)

  2. Yep, I didn’t get the Star Wars reference, either. I gave up after 20 minutes of whatever film it was. All sci-fi leaves me cold except ‘1984’.
    Are we still unsure whether Pluto’s a planet? In that case, I suggest we call it ‘Goofy’: nobody knows what Goofy is either. x

    1. It would be holistically unpleasant to call Pluto a planet. Until we find out every solar system looks like ours, with one and only one dwarf planet outside some gas giants and inside a radius of 40 AU, then no; not a planet.

      Though you could argue that Pluto is like Dyonysus, not really a god to most Christians, but a god nevertheless.

      1. Until we find out every solar system looks like ours

        That is an unrealistic option. Once we get a statistically significant sample of sufficiently characterised planetary/ stellar systems that we haven’t found any surprises for [pick a rubber band ; stretch it ; that long ; more or less], then we can start talking about normal versus abnormal planetary/ stellar systems.
        Since we’ve got between 2^3 and 2^4 digits (well, most of us) maybe “we’ve increased our data set by a factor of 10 since we last had to re-write the rule book” would be a workable criterion for saying that we’ve got a good working model of how planetary/ stellar systems behave.

  3. We are promised a stream of more detailed pictures that will be released over time. I am waiting to learn more about rumors of a small thermal exhaust port only two meters wide…

          1. Self Defense!

            “The Beggar’s Canyon womp rat reproduced at an alarming rate. Once it reproduced to such a point that the population could not be kept in check, and womp rats were hunting Jawas and raiding storehouses. The Imperial prefect of Tatooine and the Affiliated Moisture Farmers then passed a bounty ordinance of ten credits per rat.[]

  4. For the sake of completeness, my foot. It wasn’t until the film’s third re-release (in 1981) that George Lucas added that “Episode IV, A New Hope” bit to prints of Star Wars and it wasn’t until the 90s that anyone started insisting to anyone else that the film actually be referred to by the cumbersome compound title.

    The correct, complete title of Star Wars is Star Wars.

    1. I remember that right from the start in 1977 we were told there would be three trilogies, and the second was being released before the first so as not to spoil plot stuff, which mainly turned out to be who Luke’s father and sister were. It’s taken nearly 40 years, but we’re finally getting parts VII, VIII and IX.

      1. I believe you’re misremembering. Back in 1977 (so far as anyone can tell) no prequels were planned or even hoped for. The idea of epsiode numbering was introduced in the second draft of the sequel to The Empire Strikes Back, written in 1978. At this point, Lucas used “Episode II” as the numbering (suggesting that the idea of prequels had not yet entered his head). And it was only in this second draft of the script that the idea of Vader being Luke’s father makes its first appearance.

        (See, for instance, the wikipedia entry for The Empire Strikes Back.)

  5. Oh, love the tweet! Very witty!

    (And I ‘got it’ notwithstanding that I don’t like Star Wars. That thing is almost as iconic as a Dalek).


  6. Space Exploration is vitally important if the Human Species is to survive, at some point we are going to have to get off our beautiful Planet so the more money spent on Space the better.

    1. Give up. There’s no where to go. The other planets are, and will remain, dead and unsuitable for human habitat. Planets outside of the solar system are too far away to be more than optical amusement.

      We need to simply treat this planet as though it is what it is: a wonderful place for humans and all other known carbon based life forms (“Carbon units” if you like Star Trek movies).

Leave a Reply