I was alone when I woke up. However, I could hear their voices in the next room. It sounded as if they were having an important meeting. I quickly got up, I stretched my legs, shivered my fur to make it fluffy, and I went to the meeting room. Nice! It looked as if the meeting hadn’t started yet. Selfi and Lumi were sitting on the couch, and on the table in front of them, there were a lot of books with interesting pictures. Color was standing behind the couch, looking at the books over their shoulders; and Music was on the floor arguing with Selfi.
When I entered the room, everyone became silent, looked at me, and burst into laughter.
“Timok looks like a hedgehog,” said Music laughing. I wondered how I could ever look like a hedgehog.
There was a mirror in the room, so I went to see myself. Indeed, my fur has never been as fluffy as it was then. I looked exactly like a hedgehog. I had to fix this. I went down on my tummy and started rolling around the room. I hoped that my fur would flatten and I would look normal again. I was wrong. After all the rolling, nothing changed.
I gave up. I decided to let my fur be. As long as I was feeling ok with myself, it did not matter what the others thought about me. Then, I climbed on the coffee table and made funny faces, such that the others can laugh even more at me. They all petted me and I wanted to go and kiss all of them, but I did not manage. Selfi started talking about something that sounded serious.
“Let’s talk about the solar system. In order to make it simple, imagine that the Sun is a big, yellow watermelon and that the planets are oranges, nuts and apples. Now imagine that on this table we have the melon in the middle and the rest of the fruits are in a line around it. The planets move around the Sun in their circles and each planet has its own circle. Some of the fruits are smaller and some bigger, just like the real planets. Also, some of the fruits will be closer to the sun and some further away, but they will always be on the circle line. Look at this drawing, it will help you understand better. “
Now look at the line of the circle and imagine that an orange is following the line around the sun. That is how the planets move. Every time they complete a circle around the sun, it means that another year has passed on that planet.
It takes Earth 365 days to rotate around the Sun. So one year on Earth is equal to 365 days. Pluto is further away from the Sun, and it circles it in 90.560 days. So one year on Pluto is equal to 248 years on Earth. Do you understand why? It is because the planets that are closer to the Sun spend less time rotating around the Sun, than the ones that are further away. So their years are longer than ours.
Now that you understand how to calculate one year, I want to tell you something more. The oranges, the nuts and the apples do not only rotate around the Sun. No-No. They also spin on their own. I will take an orange and stick a pencil right in the middle of it.“[You, kids, can do the same but ask your parents for help. You will need an orange and a pencil. Stick the pencil in the middle of the orange. Make the pencil go through the other side.]
“Now, remember that the orange is a planet, ok? Each planet has an invisible pencil like this and they also rotate around the pencil.
To make it more clear. The planets spin around the invisible pencil and then they also rotate around the sun, on the circle line.”
To make us understand better, Selfi showed us this animation on her tablet. It is a planet, which spins around her invisible pencil.
Do you know how long it takes Earth to spin around the invisible pencil? Each spin is one day. That is why a day on Earth has light and night.
So it takes Earth 365 days to rotate around the Sun and one day to spin around the invisible pencil.“
I found this very interesting and so did Music because he started asking questions:
“Do all planets rotate and spin like that?”
“Yes, all of them. The universe is an amazing playground. But there are more things that I want to tell you.”
Then Selfi took the orange with the pencil stuck in the middle of it and started spinning it.
“For most of the planets this imaginary pencil is standing straight or is a little bit tilted. Earth and Pluto, our home, have the pencil straight. But there is one planet which is different. There are a lot of stories about it and about the creatures that live there. This planet has the pencil laid down, horizontally. Imagine trying to move a barrel. To move a barrel you have to lay it down so you can roll it. This is exactly what the planet did. Instead of standing straight to spin, it is laid down and it is spinning horizontally.
This planet is called Uranus. It is placed a few days far from us and it is our next destination. “