I’m not sure how I feel about this. I grew up knowing there were nine planets in our solar system. Losing one makes me feel a bit wobbly. What else is out there that I thought was set in concrete that perhaps isn’t? Maybe North isn’t North? Maybe there’s something colder than absolute zero? Maybe the universe is just one tiny atom in the fingernail of some gigantic being?
The PADL (Planet Anti-Defamation League) has already filed suit with the IAU for their use of the term “dwarf planet,” which they feel is sizist and discriminatory. From now on, Pluto, Ceres and other such bodies are to be referred to as “little planets.”
I would like to request a moment of silence to commemorate the passing of one of our neighborhood’s little oddballs (OK, not passing exactly, but demoting). The Big 9 has just become the Big 8, and Pluto not only isn’t a “real” planet any more, it’s not even a particularly notable member of the new “dwarf planet” category (second fiddle to 2003 UB313, fer gossakes). Is this any way to treat a great little trouper like Pluto? For 70-odd years it put up with being made fun of for being small and having a weird orbit, and had to contend with its big bully of a moon trying to push it around, but it never complained, it never made a fuss. And now it’s been kicked out of the club.
And think of all those companies that make kid’s astronomy books and star charts and maps of the solar system: they’ll have to redesign everything. It’s just not fair!
Wait! It’s a conspiracy! Think of all the millions of dollars the writers of science textbooks are going to get now, since they have to rewrite entire sections! All those college kids having to shell out hundreds more for new editions! Think of the solar system maps that will have to be redrawn! The models Michael’s sells so kids can put together their science fair projects!
New Horizons must feel really gutted about this. Imagine setting out to explore the last remaining planet not visited by any space probe OMG!!!, then shortly after you set out, the folks back home say you’re just going to visit a big lump of ice.
If I were it, I’d just turn straight around and stomp back home.
Or maybe it’s the first probe to visit the exotic new worlds of the “Kuiper Belt” OMG!!! yeah I think that’s better.