Essay on The Demotion of Pluto from Planetary Status

1402 Words 6 Pages
The Demotion of Pluto from Planetary Status “Pluto has been voted off the island” (Inman). In August of 2006 the celestial body was officially retitled a dwarf planet. The media’s portrayal of the demotion of Pluto began in 2006 and covered a broad variety of topics including the official ruling in Prague, the public’s reception of the decision, a book written by a scientist claiming sole responsibility for the demotion, and finally NASA’s most recent statement in 2012 regarding the dwarf planet. Media interest in Pluto’s demotion spiked twice, first in 2006 when Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status with both supporters and detractors displayed in the media; in the following years interest waned significantly until the second spike …show more content…
In 2006 a group of astronomers met in the Czech city of Prague for what would become one of the most controversial recent decisions regarding astronomical science. A year prior to this meeting Mike Brown, a planetary scientist discovered a celestial object larger than Pluto which he unofficially named Xena. The controversy surrounding whether or not Xena would be officially deemed a planet sparked motivation to define a planetary body. A New York Times article published in 2006 states “Two years ago, the International Astronomical Union appointed a working group of astronomers to come up with a definition that would resolve this tension…This year a new group with broader roots led by Owen Gingerich of Harvard, took up this problem” (Overbye). The vote can in the Czech Republic can be summed up by William J. Kole who wrote for The Washington Post “Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines…After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930” (Kole), these new guidelines deem both Pluto and Xena to be categorized as dwarf planets. These new guidelines include that a planet must be in orbit around the sun, be large enough to have a “round” shape and finally not intertwine with another celestial objects orbital. Pluto was

Related Documents