View Full Version : Naming Pluto (Review)

2009-Jan-17, 11:20 PM
Naming Pluto explores the chain of events that lead to Pluto's naming and in 2007 sees Venetia Phair viewing Pluto for the very first time through a telescope, on her 89th birthday, 77 years after Pluto's discovery. A wonderful, intimate look into the story behind how Pluto got its name. A review of the short [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2009/01/17/naming-pluto-review/)

2009-Jan-18, 04:27 AM
This sounds like a wonderful film. However, I continue to object in the strongest possible terms to your statement that Pluto's status has changed, that it is no longer a planet, and that it is part of a "minor planet" population. By reciting this as fact, you are obscuring the real fact that this view is only ONE side of a still highly contested debate, with many astronomers still viewing Pluto very much as a planet.

In "Is Pluto A Planet?" Dr. David Weintraub rejects the classification of Pluto or any object in hydrostatic equilibrium as a "minor planet," as this term has traditionally been used to designate shapeless, inert asteroids.

If Katie at St. Anne's Primary School in Surrey reads this, I hope she comes to realize that Pluto IS a real planet and that many astronomers still hold this position, as can be seen from the petition here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/planetprotest/ . She can also hear both sides of this very much ongoing debate at http://gpd.jhuapl.edu/ which contains the transcripts of a conference held in August 2008 to address this issue, titled the Great Planet Debate.

Please do not speak of "Pluto's status having been changed" as a done deal. It is not. Four percent of the IAU voted on this; most are not planetary scientists, and most planetary scientists are not IAU members. There already efforts underway to get the IAU decision undone. It would be far more accurate for you to describe the status of Pluto as a matter of ongoing controversy.

Feel welcome to visit my blog at http://laurele.livejournal.com to read about why Pluto is a planet and about the latest efforts to get it reinstated.

2009-Jan-19, 07:29 PM
While I agree that the debate isn't over, nor should it be, as i'm a firm proponent of changing the 'Dwarf Planet' designation of planets that have not cleared orbit of other objects to 'Belt Planet'. Dwarf as a word just doesn't make sense in the context they are using it, as it's refering to an object thats a member of a group of objects in similar orbits. Asteriod Belt, Kupier Belt, Oort Cloud...

There are also many threads on BAUT forums already discussing this issue, and Ian's article in UT seems more of an accounting of the history of Pluto, and not a reflection of the ongoing debate.

So we should probably focus on the history of the only known Double Belt Planet system, Pluto/Charon and thier two moons.