Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: People feel strongly about Pluto

There’s no grey area on this issue, dudes. You know?


Heartfelt message found in North Melbourne, AUS.

You are either pro or con. Myself, I feel real funny about the abrupt disinclusion of Pluto from planet status … I understand the physics of the matter, I “get” it from the scientific standpoint of proper nomenclature. It’s just that, trumpet mushrooms, you guys — Pluto still orbits right along with the rest of us, so this is not going away. You know? That’s kind of like when you ask a girl to prom and she says “yes,” but then it turns out the other girl that you liked better but you thought her strict church-type parents would not let her go drops a hint that she is allowed to go and you actually call the first chick and tell her straight up she is un-going to the prom with you. Like, come on, The World. Are we so base and classless as to behave like a horny 16-year-old whose first-choice crush has conservative parents? Let us not be exclusive and uninvitational: let us consider Pluto’s feelings and be a man about this. Pluto probably already bought a dress and called its grandma all like, “I’m a planet, Nana!” and Pluto’s grandma was all choked up and happy for it, saying, “Of course you are, honey, because you are special — if your Poppa was here, he’d be s-so proud of you,” and we are actually discussing taking that moment away from them? I mean, really. Come on. That’s messed up.

That’s all I’m saying.

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3 Responses to “Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: People feel strongly about Pluto”

  1. doubleclicktf Says:

    Kids’ letters about Pluto to The American Museum Of Natural History: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pluto/mail-01a.html

    They’re all great, but 5/6 makes me smile the most.

  2. Laurel Kornfeld Says:

    There are plenty of scientific reasons for keeping Pluto as a planet. The vote to demote it was a political act, not a scientific one. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by New Horizons Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern. One reason the IAU definition makes no sense is it says dwarf planets are not planets at all! That is like saying a grizzly bear is not a bear, and it is inconsistent with the use of the term “dwarf” in astronomy, where dwarf stars are still stars, and dwarf galaxies are still galaxies. Also, the IAU definition classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto’s orbit, according to the IAU definition, it would not be a planet either. A definition that takes the same object and makes it a planet in one location and not a planet in another is essentially useless. Pluto is a planet because it is spherical, meaning it is large enough to be pulled into a round shape by its own gravity–a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium and characteristic of planets, not of shapeless asteroids held together by chemical bonds. These reasons are why many astronomers, lay people, and educators are either ignoring the demotion entirely or working to get it overturned.

    • E. Says:

      Laurel, you are awesome!! Thank you SO MUCH for laying it out like that. And for anyone else reading, here is a link to a podcast by Dr. Stern outlining and expanding on some of the excellent points Laurel has just made.

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