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Web Extras: Remembering Pluto's Demise

Monday, January 10, 2011 - 01:16 PM

Today, Leonard talked to Professor Mike Brown about his book, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming. In the book, Professor Brown recounts how his discovery of a 10th "dwarf" planet in the solar system inadvertently led to uproar in the astronomical community—and the eventual demotion of Pluto as a full-fledged planet. The conversation reminded us of a series of angry letters from Pluto defenders published in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book, The Pluto Files. (Mr. Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Natural History Museum, appeared on our show to discuss his book in December 2009.) These letters came from an unlikely source: third-graders.  One letter writer accused him of being a “Pluto-hater”; another offered a carefully drawn picture of Pluto, just in case the director had had a hard time identifying it. Below, we’ve put scans of our favorites, courtesy of NOVA’s website. Let us know your favorite letter in the comments below!

Madeline's Letter

Letter from Madeline Trost of Plantation, Florida. (From The Pluto Files (Norton, 2009) via NOVA.)

Will's LetterWill's Letter Part 2

Letter from Will Grost. (From The Pluto Files (Norton, 2009) via NOVA.)

Emerson's Letter

Letter from Emerson York of Mansfield, Pennsylvania. (From The Pluto Files (Norton, 2009) via NOVA.)

Guests:

Mike Brown and Neil deGrasse Tyson

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The Lodown is a blog about everything brought to you by the staff of the Leonard Lopate Show (Leonard will even drop by from time to time)! We cover food, art, politics, history, science and much more -- literally everything from Picasso to pork pies. Tips and suggestions are welcome so please send us your thoughts, curiosities and intellectual detritus!

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