|Mike Brown in Cambridge, MA Tomorrow Night
||[Jan. 25th, 2011|09:52 am]
Mike Brown, the astronomer who discovered Eris and who didn't necessarily want to kill Pluto but ended up doing so, will be speaking at Tommy Doyles Irish Pub & Restaurant at 96 Winthrop St. in Harvard Square tomorrow night starting at 7 pm. He will be lecturing on his new book "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming." The president and vice-president of the Society for the Preservation of Pluto As a Planet will be there to show our support for Pluto...and to get our copy of the book signed. :-)|
For more information, there is a Facebook page about the event at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=128794050520762
2011-01-26 06:54 pm (UTC)
Brown did not "kill" Pluto
Not only did Brown not "kill" Pluto; he is also very disrespectful to those who disagree with him about Pluto's planetary status. He is disingenuous in saying the debate is over and that the only astronomers who still see Pluto as a planet are those on the New Horizons mission. This is absolutely not true. Brown has also publicly insulted Pluto supporters by saying we don't actually believe in what we are saying and that we "know what we're saying is not true" but are being deliberately manipulative. That to me does not equate to promoting astronomy among the general public--it equates to promoting himself. The same is NOT true, at least in my experience, of Tyson, who is much more open-minded, and admits the debate is not over, as can be seen in his Nova episode of "The Pluto Files."
I am a Pluto supporter who DOES use the data, IAU gazeteers, and definitions in my refutation of the IAU definition. The IAU did not have to come up with any definition at all; certainly the four percent who voted, most of whom are not planetary scientists, did not have an urgent need to define TNOs when their research never even touches upon these objects. Support for Pluto's planet status is based not on nostalgia and sentiment--that is a straw man argument repeated by people like Brown. It is based on conviction in a geophysical definition of planet, in which a planet is any non-self-luminous spheroidal body--that is, one large enough to be in hydrostatic equilibrium--in orbit around a star.
I encourage anyone interested in this issue to learn both sides. A good pro-Pluto book is "The Case for Pluto" by Alan Boyle.
I am writing a book of my own, "The Little Planet That Would Not Die: Pluto's Story," and when the book is published, sometime this year, I will embark on a book tour as well.
Mike and Nomi, please tell me that you will attend my lecture when I come to Boston to present it.