Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Say what?

Mordechai's latest research obsession is the solar system. He started by memorizing all nine planets and then proceeded by asking me a zillion (just barely exaggerating) questions, very few of which I knew the answers to. Three space books and a Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space video later, he's still asking questions, and I'm all out of age-appropriate references.

Luckily, there's my dad. Dad's mind is encyclopedic. You can see how he and Mordechai would get along. Each Sunday at my Mom and Dad's house includes an hour-long lecture on one topic or the other, which, although often over his head, fascinates him. Did you know that the closest star to Earth, not including the sun, is called Alpha Centauri? And that it's so far, it would take well over a lifetime to travel to it? And that it can't be seen from the Northern Hemisphere? (The closest one that can be seen from the Northern Hemisphere is called Sirius.) Did you know that? Neither did I 'til last Sunday.

And there's more. Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, right? So you'd think it's pretty hot there, right? Well that's true for only one side of the planet. Most of the other side of Mercury never actually faces the sun so it's freezing cold there - an eternal night. It happens that way because of the way the speed of rotation and speed of revolution interact. Pluto is a controversial planet in that not everyone agrees it's a planet at all. Many feel it's just a rock that got sucked into the solar system's gravity. It doesn't even stay in line. It's orbital path is such that it is sometimes closer to the sun than Neptune is.

Dad was trying to explain that, although the planets are hardly ever lined up in a row like they are in many illustrations, they are all on the same plane. Obviously, a "plane" is not a simple concept for a six-year-old kid. So he started to clarify by saying, "Imagine that around sun is a record." Overhearing, I felt obliged to point out to Dad that Mordechai has never heard of a record before. A light of understanding spread across Mordechai's face when I took over with, "Imagine that the sun is sitting in the hole in the middle of a huge CD...."


Rebecca said...

doesn't it make you feel old that are kids don't know what records are? or, any time you take a picture they "wanna see" even if it is a camera with film. (what's film?) soon, they won't know what vhs tapes are either! And, a few of my 3-4 year old students were disgusing their memory cards. I had to ask my assistant if they were talking about digital cameras. (why would a 3 year old be interested in that?) Apparantly this is a video game- game cube- term. oysh, I'm old!

LittleBirdies said...

How do you keep up with him?...