Happy 85th to Pluto… and The Adler Planetarium! My first post for the Adler Blog is live.

My first post for the Adler Planetarium blog went up today!

2015 marks the 85th anniversary of the discovery of Pluto, as well as the 85th anniversary of North America’s first planetarium: The Adler, of course!

In this post, I discuss some of the history of Pluto’s discovery and subsequent reclassification as a dwarf planet, as well as its ties to the Adler. 2015 should be an exciting year for both– we will soon have a new view on Pluto from the the New Horizons mission flyby this spring, and here at the Adler we’ll be celebrating our anniversary all summer long with fun astronomy events for everyone!

I am always struck by how emotional people get over Pluto’s reclassification– if you read to the end of my post on the Adler blog you’ll hear my personal opinion, but I’m curious: what’s yours? Do you think Pluto should be a planet, or not?

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2 Responses to Happy 85th to Pluto… and The Adler Planetarium! My first post for the Adler Blog is live.

  1. Jason Rogers says:

    I thought the 3 criteria seemed very odd.
    Round: yeah, that makes sense, but “round” is pretty subjective. How round is round? Neutron stars are thought to be *very* smoothly round. In comparison the Earth is not round at all. Vesta’s not as round as the Earth but it’s pretty round. Where’s the line?

    Cleared the orbit: Well not even Jupiter has “cleared” it’s orbit as shoemaker levy 9 so amply demonstrated. Neither has Earth. 3753 Cruithne shares an orbit with us. So Pluto hasn’t cleared Neptune out of the orbit. But wait, Neptune hasn’t cleared Pluto out. Doesn’t that mean that Neptune isn’t a planet either?

    Orbits the Sun: Well that’s just dumb. “Sulu, put us in orbit around that big, round, rocky, not planet, thing over there”

    It also misses out some stuff. If you replace “Sun” with “Star” then isn’t a binary suddenly two big shiny planets? (ie, a round, orbit clearing object in orbit around a star)

    In the end I don’t think nature cares what we call things. There’s obviously an unbroken continuum from invisible specks of dust up to super giant stars. So why not call things what makes sense to us so we’re all clear on what we’re talking about. As for me I’m going to continue to think of that little worldlet as a planet.

  2. Robert Dale says:

    I don’t really care what one calls it. I care about its physical features.

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