Yesterday, NASA released some new images of Pluto taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, that reveal Pluto to be "a complex-looking and variegated world with white, dark-orange, and charcoal-black terrain." Pluto's many changes show it to be "not simply a ball of ice and rock but a dynamic world that undergoes dramatic atmospheric changes."
We have just discovered that someone out there is sending out spoof emails that purport to be from the domain plutoisaplanet.org. If you've received one of these emails, please be advised that they did not come from us, as we never use the domain name for sending out email.
Sean P. Fodera, the New York Regional Coordinator of the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as Planet, visited his son's classroom to discuss Pluto and blogs about it in My Presentation on Pluto's Planetary Status:
I briefly explained the history of how planets get discovered, and how improving technology has made it easier to find objects in space. They were amazed that anyone could have spotted Pluto from Earth with 1930s telescope technology, or that comparing fuzzy photos could work for detecting the far-off planet....
I discussed the controversy over Pluto's demotion, explaining how the new definition of planet is not accurate, and how less than 5% of the IAU actually voted on the matter. The students had trouble understanding the voting part of it, since they all seem to assume that if something is voted on, it must be fair. So, I presented an example. "Let's say that when your teacher and I went to this school, it was decided that every year the 6th grade class would get to go to the circus. Now, years later, someone decides to take a vote about whether to keep going on the circus trip. Instead of all 50 of you voting, only three of you vote. One votes 'yes', and two vote 'no'. 'No' wins, but it's not exactly a fair vote, is it? That's what happened to Pluto." Eyes lit up, and lot of heads started shaking.
Last night, the president and vice-president of the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet attended a talk by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and to the merriment of all, confronted him on his single-handed decision to change the face of our solar system forever.
Well, more seriously, we did hear an excellent talk on his own role in the Pluto controversy.
The Illinois State Legislature is taking on the cause of Pluto, according to an article in the Daily Herald:
Like some sort of rulers of the universe, state lawmakers are considering restoring little Pluto's planetary status, casting aside the scientific community's 2006 decision downgrading the distant ice ball.
An Illinois Senate committee on Thursday unanimously supported planet Pluto and declaring March 13 "Pluto Day." The idea now moves to the full Senate for a vote.
According to the article Pluto-like objects to be called 'plutoids', the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced today that Pluto, which they reclassified as a dwarf planet, will now also be known as a plutoid.
Those of us at the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet see this as a step toward Pluto regaining its rightful status as the ninth planet in the solar system. After all, if the IAU keeps giving new designations to Pluto, eventually they'll just give up and call it a planet again.
Streatorland Historical Society will dedicate a mural for Streator, Illinois native Clyde Tombaugh on Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 2:00 pm in the 300 block of East Main Street, downtown Streator. The dedication is part of Streator’s Heritage Days celebration held from Friday, May 23rd through Monday, May 26th featuring a carnival, crafts, vendors, food and entertainment.
Local artist John Betken designed the mural as a tribute to Tombaugh’s accomplishments. The mural depicts early astronomers Tombaugh as a young stargazer on the family farm, his days at the Lowell Observatory where he discovered Pluto, and the New Horizons space mission currently on its voyage toward the planet Pluto.
Guest speakers from New Mexico, Annette Tombaugh-Sitze and Alden Tombaugh, (daughter and son of Clyde Tombaugh) will offer insight into their father’s life and discoveries. The public is encouraged to attend.