Start Getting Noticed

Pluto

From its discovery in 1930 until 2006, Pluto was considered the Solar System’s ninth planet. In the late 1970s, following the discovery of minor planet 2060 Chiron in the outer Solar System and the recognition of Pluto’s very low mass, its status as a major planet began to be questioned. Later, in the early 21st century, many objects similar to Pluto were discovered in the outer Solar System. On August 24, 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) defined the term “planet” for the first time. This definition excluded Pluto as a planet, and added it as a member of the new category “dwarf planet” along with Eris and Ceres. After the reclassification, Pluto was added to the list of minor planets and given the number 134340. A number of scientists continue to hold that Pluto should be classified as a planet.

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PROTEST

Personally, I have a big problem with Pluto being demoted from a “real planet” to a “minor planet”. Those who know me would say that I’m smaller than most kids my age. So, am I now a “minor kid”? Of course not. So that’s why I’ve chosen to include Pluto on the list. I welcome all others to join the protest and bring Pluto back, as a planet!

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HOW PLUTO GOT ITS NAME

The name “Pluto” was proposed by Venetia Burney (later Venetia Phair), an eleven-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford, England. Venetia was interested in classical mythology as well as astronomy, and considered the name, that of the Roman god of the Underworld, appropriate for such a presumably dark and cold world. She suggested it in a conversation with her grandfather Falconer Madan, a former librarian at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Madan passed the name to Professor Herbert Hall Turner, who then cabled it to colleagues in the United States.

The object was officially named on March 24, 1930. Each member of the Lowell Observatory was allowed to vote on a short-list of three: “Minerva”, “Cronus”, and Pluto. Pluto received every vote. The name was announced on May 1, 1930. Upon the announcement, Madan gave Venetia five pounds as a reward. Venetia passed away in 2009, at the age of 90.

July 11, 1918 – April 30, 2009

The name, Pluto, was soon embraced by a wider culture. The Disney character Pluto, introduced in 1930, was named in the object’s honor.

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