Streams

Pluto Was a Planet

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mike Brown, Professor of Planetary Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, talks about the firestorm of controversy ignited when the planet Pluto was demoted to a "dwarf" planet. How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is an account of the most tumultuous year in modern astronomy-which he inadvertently caused--and explains important scientific concepts and inspires us to think about our place in the cosmos.

Guests:

Mike Brown

Comments [6]

Tristan

Pluto should be a planet!!!, here is a funny joke I saw about why pluto should be a planet, http://ponderingstuff.com/2011/02/12/pluto-planet/

Feb. 12 2011 05:07 PM

Pluto IS a planet. Mike Brown tried but failed to "kill" it. The IAU demotion was done by only four percent of its members, most of whom are not planetary scientists. It was opposed by hundreds of planetary scientists in a formal petition led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. Even Dr. Neil de Grasse Tyson admits the debate is ongoing. Plus, it turns out Eris is not bigger than Pluto at all, as was discovered in November 2010 during Eris' occultation of a star. I encourage people to learn both sides of the issue. Some good pro-Pluto as a planet books are "Is Pluto A Planet?" by Dr. David Weintraub, "The Case for Pluto" by Alan Boyle, and my own book, hopefully out in 2011, "The Little Planet that Would Not Die: Pluto's Story." I second the request by Mike Wrathell above that you practice fair and balanced journalism by interviewing an astronomer from the pro-Pluto as a planet side. I would be happy to be interviewed and/or suggest candidates for you to interview.

Jan. 18 2011 03:08 PM
Mike Wrathell from Metro Detroit

Mike Brown was the co-discoverer of Eris with two other people if you look up Eris on Wikipedia. He never bothers to give those two men credit; he is too busy vilifying Pluto. Many planetary scientists feel Pluto is as much a planet as Earth. I hope you will interview Alan Stern or some other distinguished astronomer on the other side of the debate, Mr. Lopate. He is part of NASA's New Horizons mission team working on the unmanned probe to Pluto. By the way, it now appears highly likely that Pluto is larger than Eris, and it will be ever more likely once Bruno Sicardy of the Paris Observatory publishes a scientific paper very soon about the recent steller occultation of Eris observed from Chile, and New Horizons remeasurement of Pluto in July 2015, if that does not clear it up. Mr. Brown cannot hide from the truth forever.

Jan. 18 2011 02:01 PM
Susan from NJ

There are people who think that there is such a thing as Nibiru, a planet as large as Jupiter with a large 3,000 year orbit due to swing through our solar system in 2012 and wreck havoc. Is it possible such a thing could be lurking out in space without astronomers knowing about it?

Jan. 10 2011 01:02 PM
L. Skywalker

How old was the author when the original Star Wars came out and did the movie have an impact on him?

Jan. 10 2011 12:51 PM
question

[[How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming ]]

Love that title. Was that the author's idea or an editor's idea?

Jan. 10 2011 12:24 PM

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