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Another Lap for the Plucky Planet - Feburary 2012
(Sun and Earth have a chat) by Diane K. Fisher

"Well, another year's passed for you, little blue Earth.
You've run one more lap 'round my blazing hot girth.
Through my merciless winds, for yet one more year
You've kept a firm hold on your atmosphere."

"Dear Sun, you're most generous with all of your praise.
You know it's a feat to defend from your blaze.
For you hurl out harsh rays and electrical dust
That could fry life on Earth. It would truly combust!"

"It's been quite a workout! It takes quite a while,
To go five hundred eight-four millions of miles!
To spin three hundred sixty five times, plus a quarter.
Not to gripe, though. I don't want the trip to be shorter!"

"For Earth's yearly lap is just about right.
Much closer I'd fry and be blinded by light.
And farther away my whole ocean would freeze.
I'd have nothing like fishes, and people, and trees."

"How convenient my energy thaws out your ocean.
But remember I'm all about nuclear explosion!
My temper is fiery. I'm stormy. Hotheaded!
I hurl out a wind full of ions—most dreaded!"

"With electrical charges, these dust bits are brutal,
Race a million or more miles per hour, it's futile
To plant any trees, grow a frog, or a gnu!
So tell me, small Earth, what trick do you do?"

"I have an invisible shield! It's protection,
A bubble of safety, against your aggression.
My core's spinning metal. It's electro-magnetic.
It puts out a force field that's quite energetic."

"That keeps out your dust. But there's yet one more question.
Your X- and U-V rays—quite bad for digestion!
Lucky for me, my atmosphere scatters
Those rays, and lets through the light that most matters."

"How clever you are! I would never have guessed
By your small fragile face you're so heartily blessed."

"Fortune is mine. I am one lucky sphere.
Off I go, cheer me on, for another fine year!"

Listen in on more of this meeting between Super Star and the Plucky Planet at spaceplace.nasa.gov/story-superstar.

Sun and Earth have a New Year's chat.

Illustration is by Alexander Novati. This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


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