February 18, 2013
Happy Pluto Day!
Did you know that Pluto was discovered on this day about 83 years ago. In 1930 an astronomer from Illinois found the little guy and the world was ambivalent about the 9th planet…until 2006 when it was downgraded to a dwarf planet and people took a stand one way or another. Which way do I fall? I feel bad for the little guy but it is nice that scientist can review findings and change their mind too… there are too many examples to list wherein science made a boo-boo (or at least what we understood the findings to indicate based on observation). It makes me wonder what other things will be disproved in my lifetime. I already think of how many discoveries have been made about the world around us just this year…I wonder what they will find next year!
You know who I feel bad for…Eris. I mean that is really the victim in this whole thing. It was only the 10th planet for a few months before the all-powerful IAU kicked Eris and Pluto out of the party. That would be a very awkward meeting the next time they orbited close to each other…Pluto had a strong 75 years lingering with the cool kids until Eris came along and ruined his fun.
Also, I think dwarf is too diminutive, it’s not a fairy tale after all. It should be more appropriately named a planet with small stature or a little planet. I mean planets have feelings too….or maybe the don’t. My favorite picture of Pluto was this rally. Regardless of where you fall on the Pluto Planet debacle, it’s good to see anyone taking an interest in space!