Steve Higginson's Top Ten Planets

10. Mercury

Coming in at the bottom of the list is the closest planet to the sun, Mercury. It is, in most ways, just a terrible, terrible planet. However, it made the list above other planets because it is the sole source of quicksilver in the solar system. Mercury, of course, let this get to its head and launched a massive campaign to have the liquid metal rebranded as mercury. The planet succeeded in this regard, but lost out as people now think of the element before the planet when the word mercury is mentioned.

Mercury attempted suicide multiple times during the 19th century due to the growing popularity of the hypothetical planet Vulcan, supposedly even closer than Mercury is to the sun. Albert Einstein, a close friend of Mercury, decided to help it out and created general relativity, which negated the need for a hypothetical near-sun planet. Mercury was forever grateful to Einstein, but never really did anything in return, except loaning him his car for a week.

9. Neptune

Generally a fairly good planet Neptune was knocked down a few notches for having an orbit intersecting Pluto’s. Neptune was even considered for number one, given that its core is made mostly from pure joy, but two things stopped that. Its ring is paltry compared to the other gas giants. Not only is it smaller and less impressive it is also incredibly low in bran muffin content – compared to Saturn whose ring system is 58% bran muffin. The other thing is, of course, its being further from the sun than Pluto for decades at a time.

Neptune’s social life is also quite crippled. Due to its all-joy core Neptune has a very happy persona – annoyingly happy. It managed to rope in a few moons, but over half of them suffer from Asperger's syndrome and are just afraid to leave in case none of the other planets will take them in. Neptune’s favourite movie is Crossroads, starring Brittney Spears.

8. Ceres

Newly-promoted body Ceres has joined the ranks of planets and shot right past some of the classics to number eight in the list. Ceres may be only a fraction of the mass of the moon but it’s at least eight times as cool, weighing in at at least 39 kilofonzies (kFz). Since Ceres’ promotion to planet it’s been hard at work securing its position as leader of the asteroid belt, a position it already held by de facto, given that Ceres’ mass is 30% of the total asteroid belt mass.

Acts conducted under the moniker of an asteroid still count towards Ceres position on this list. Back in the 1990s Ceres took up a career as a songwriter. It spent several years selling off pop songs that never really made the charts, until one day in the late nineties. Ceres went to a meeting with several music industry professionals with what he felt was his finest song. Four months later Chumbawumba hit the charts with Tubthumping.

7. Jupiter

It may be the largest planet in the solar system, but it is certainly not the best. Jupiter, as we all know, suffers from an eating disorder, thus its large mass. It also has issues with its looks. Who wouldn’t with a spot the size of three Earths? It would also be best not to talk about the planet’s gas problems. Of course, Jupiter does make up for all of its issues with one word: Jovian. Definitely one of the finest adjectives going and it stems from the most massive of gas giants.

Jupiter had an ongoing feud with the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet. The comet made a tasteless joke at Jupiter’s expense thousands of years ago, causing the planet to have a nervous breakdown. Overdramatic, I know. Jupiter lost a lot of its 23% bran muffin rings from the breakdown. There was considerable friction between the two bodies until eventually the comet had enough and deliberately collided with the planet in 1994. Jupiter didn’t feel a thing and Shoemaker-Levy 9 was lodged deep in the centre of the planet’s caramel core.

6. Pluto-Charon

These two tiny planets make it all the way up to number 6 because, even though they are both small, there’s two of them. The whole is greater than the sum of their parts – or is that the other way around? Either way, double planets are just really cool. Speaking of cool, Pluto is the coldest known place in the universe. Thermometers in the plutonian caverns have measured temperatures as low as -12 K. Charon is also a very cold planet, except at its core, which is burning hotter than the middle of the sun. A heat-proof shell made of a neutronium-coffee alloy stops the small planet from burning itself and its companion.

Many people question whether Pluto-Charon is a double planet system or if Charon is just the moon of Pluto. Astronomers from across the globe have been unable to determine the correct answer, but a small group of elite astrologers banded together and decided that Pluto and Charon are twins. Pluto was born twenty minutes before Charon and is thus the older and more massive of the two. A spokesperson for the astronomic community has called the claims of the astrologers “idiotic” and added “change your name to something that doesn’t sound like astronomer.”

5. Saturn

The planet of the rings is a name that Saturn could be described with, but it really isn’t all that often. The massive rings of the gas giant are comprised out of bran muffins, baguettes and thousands of varieties of donuts. If one were to construct a massive record player and place the stylus on the rings on Saturn it will play Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, except with track three replaced by Nickelback’s How You Remind Me.

In 1973 Saturn set the solar record for long jumping. It got within 5 AU of the Oort cloud after jumping from the asteroid belt. To this day no other planet or solar system body has beaten that record, though a rouge asteroid cast forth from Alpha Centauri did beat the record by eight metres in 1993. Saturn forced the asteroid into an orbit that will cause it to crash into the sun in early July, 2009. Never piss off Saturn.

4. Mars

The nearest planet to Earth is also its best friend. Mars is also known as the red planet due to its high blood pressure. Earth has always been there for it and convinced Mars to visit a doctor about his problems. It turns out that Mars was suffering from a hereditary cholesterol problem and is now on medication to mediate its blood flow. Mars thanks Earth every day for saving its life. However, Mars still sticks to its old diet of fried chicken and nachos, despite its doctor’s pleas.

Mars once entered a boiled egg eating competition with Paul Newman (Yes, obviously a foolish thing to do with its heart problem). Both Mars and Paul Newman called a draw around egg number 183. However, when Mars turned its back to leave Newman threw back his 184th egg. Just as he was about to be declared the winner Mars launched Paul Newman into the sun. Without the proper protection, Newman was killed instantly.

3. 2003 UB313

2003 UB313 comes in at number three in this chart purely because it hasn’t been officially named yet. It carries the nickname of Xena, because it was discovered when Lucy Lawless, the warrior princess, was hurled into space when she got involved in a fight between Kevin Sorbo and Bruce Campbell (in which Campbell of course reigned victorious). Many members of the scientific community dispute the nickname and are currently flipping wildly through various encyclopaedias to find the name of a roman deity to name the planet after.

Possible names for the planet include Vulcan, being backed by Tim Russ and Leonard Nemoy (but not Jolene Blalock, who wants it to be called the Blalockosphere), Diana, being backed by crazy royalty worshippers and Steve Higginson’s personal choice, Soranus, because Uranus jokes are pretty old. Currently 2003 UB313 is going by the name Dan when it introduces itself at parties, so it’s hoping for something a little more classical in the near future.

2. Earth

Yes, you are reading correctly. Well, I can’t know that you really are reading correctly but – let’s stop there or I’ll just keep going. Yes, Earth, the planet which bore life to the majority of us here, is number two on the list. It’s not a case that the Earth doesn’t deserve number one, it does. It’s just that the planet that made number one is so much better, for reasons you will read. Granted the number one doesn’t have liquid water oceans or any of that jazz, but we really only need those things on Earth.

The coolest thing about Earth is, as everyone knows, the origin of the moon. Back in the good old days of being a giant ball of molten rock the Earth was happily orbiting the sun. Then along came another proto-planet, which I like to call Gary, who had it out for Earth. It ploughed itself right into Earth, ripping a huge chunk out and mixing in with the two remaining masses. One became Earth and the other the moon. The remnants of Gary in both bodies is why we have cancer. So now you know who to blame when you’re on the old chemo.

1. Uranus

The number one planet in the solar system is, of course, Uranus. Now, I know what you’re all thinking (anus), but that is not why this planet beat the other twelve (or eight or twenty or how ever many there are at this stage).

Uranus has proved time and again that it will step up to the line when somebody needs help. Uranus took a bullet for an elderly convenience store clerk during an armed robbery and still managed to capture the criminal. Uranus’ moons are filled with candy and populated by pets taken from animal shelters before the shelter executes them for overstaying their welcome. All of this and Uranus has the word anus in its name. That’s just gold right there.