Shut up about Pluto


Natalie Larimer, Staff Writer

Two weeks ago, I published a piece called “When in France”  and I mentioned how at the planetarium we saw, the sculpture outside included Pluto. Not to be a critic or anything, but that is completely wrong. Yes I understand the sculpture was made before Pluto was denounced, but they could have taken it off when it was.

Pluto was demoted simply because it overlaps Neptune’s orbit. During a portion of their orbit, Pluto would replace Neptune as the eighth planet and screw up the order written in all science books. Everyone seems to think that it’s too small to be a planet, but that has nothing to do with it. Another reason Pluto lost planetary status is that it’s moon (Charon) is actually mutually locked with Pluto and they are sometimes considered a double-object. But we are getting too sciency here for me to explain without this turning into a book.

Everyone always fights for Pluto, but why? It’s not as if demoting Pluto was a personal attack on our lives. To put it simply, I believe people stand behind Pluto (metaphorically. They would die if this was literal) because of Mickey Mouse’s dog. If his name would have been Sparky or something normal, none of us would care about a rock floating around in our universe. Another point that an unnamed AP US History teacher brought up today was that we all grew up with Pluto having planetary status. This teacher compared it to taking “W” out of the alphabet saying that it’s a character, but not a part of the “official alphabet.” Well “W” doesn’t swap places with V randomly now does it?

I remember back to fifth grade when I was in an after school Mad Science astronomy club (I was so cool back then) and our coach asked us why Pluto was no longer a planet. All my teammates were like “It’s too small!” They were just going on and on about how there is some weird rule that planets have to be a certain size, which is completely untrue. I chimed in with “It overlaps Neptune’s orbit,” and of course, I was right. That’s probably why I’m arguing against Pluto’s planetary status.

Just to calm you Pluto supporters down, remember that Pluto is now a Dwarf Planet. That still has “planet” in the name so close enough right? I just don’t think everyone should argue that it is a planet and associate it with the other real planets. There’s no point in losing our heads defending a rock floating around in outer space.