Pitiless Astronomy Disappoints Child


| 11/13/2007 11:47:31 AM


Planets“I don’t understand,” said a young boy named Anton. “How can they just not make it a planet anymore?”

Having just finished a school project on Pluto, Anton was understandably shaken up when his favorite celestial body was demoted to “dwarf” status last year. After a few strokes stroke of a pen, his favorite planet was no longer a planet.

Anton’s dad, Robert Klose, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, expresses his son’s disappointment and frustration at the loss of the beloved Pluto. Klose writes that his son felt “like a man without a country, or, in this case, a planet.”

Klose tried to console his son saying, “In eight years we’ll get our first real look at Pluto. Then who knows? Maybe they'll decide it's a planet again.”

“Do you really think so?” Anton asked with hopeful expectation. We'll have to wait and see. —Cara Binder 



 

Laurel Kornfeld_2
4/17/2008 12:18:28 PM

Anton, "they" cannot make Pluto not be a planet anymore in spite of what you have read. The "they" we are talking about is four percent of the International Astronomical Union, or 424 out of 10,000 members, most of whom are not planetary scientists. They voted on the last day of a two-week conference, and no absentee voting was allowed, meaning any members not in the room could not vote. Their decision was immediately rejected in a petition signed by over 300 professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. The definition the IAU involved makes no linguistic sense, as it states that a "dwarf planet" is not a planet at all. That's like saying a grizzly bear is not a bear! Dr. Stern and many others still consider Pluto a planet; he has labeled the IAU vote "an embarrassment to astronomy." There is a good chance it will be overturned, possibly as soon as the IAU's next General Assembly in 2009. Meanwhile, you can express your support for Pluto's planet status by signing an online petition to the IAU at http://pleasesavepluto.org/pluto/petition-to-iau/ To find out more about what you can do for Pluto, visit http://www.plutoisaplanet.org , http://www.plutoisaplanet.com , and my own blog, http://laurele.livejournal.com http://laurele.livejournal.com


Laurel Kornfeld_1
4/17/2008 12:13:57 PM

Anton, "they" cannot make Pluto not be a planet anymore in spite of what you have read. The "they" we are talking about is four percent of the International Astronomical Union, or 424 out of 10,000 members, most of whom are not planetary scientists. They voted on the last day of a two-week conference, and no absentee voting was allowed, meaning any members not in the room could not vote. Their decision was immediately rejected in a petition signed by over 300 professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. The definition the IAU involved makes no linguistic sense, as it states that a "dwarf planet" is not a planet at all. That's like saying a grizzly bear is not a bear! Dr. Stern and many others still consider Pluto a planet; he has labeled the IAU vote "an embarrassment to astronomy." There is a good chance it will be overturned, possibly as soon as the IAU's next General Assembly in 2009. Meanwhile, you can express your support for Pluto's planet status by signing an online petition to the IAU at http://pleasesavepluto.org/pluto/petition-to-iau/ To find out more about what you can do for Pluto, visit http://www.plutoisaplanet.org , http://www.plutoisaplanet.com , and my own blog, http://laurele.livejournal.com http://laurele.livejournal.com




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