Home > Conversations, Quotes > Remember Pluto? That’s right it *was* the ninth planet…

Remember Pluto? That’s right it *was* the ninth planet…

Like some who are addicted to TED, I’ve found a deep love for the Commonwealth Club of California. Most of their talks are available as podcasts and feature personalities ranging from Ted Turner to Gwen Ifill, but the most surprising as of late was Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and author of The Pluto Files. During his talk he answers questions about Pluto’s demise, why it didn’t exactly match up to be a planet and what a young boy sent him when he learned his favorite planet was no more. The hour-long talk is entertaining, refreshing and well worth a quick listen to.

To download the podcast either check out the Commonwealth’s Apple Store page or go here.

Categories: Conversations, Quotes
  1. Susan
    April 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    When I just emailed you about the Commonwealth Club I hadn’t looked at your blog yet.
    The episode with Gwen Ifill was so good! I’ll check this one out, too.

  2. April 16, 2009 at 2:54 am

    You are depicting only one side of an ongoing debate as fact when you say Pluto “was” a planet. The controversial demotion of Pluto was done by only four percent of the IAU, most of whom are not planetary scientists. It was immediately opposed by hundreds of professional astronomers in a petition led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. Stern and like-minded scientists favor a broader planet definition that includes any non-self-luminous spheroidal body orbiting a star. That gives our solar system 13 planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.

    At this point, even Tyson is distancing himself from the IAU decision, which he accurately describes as “flawed.” He is moving toward a position that it might be too early in the field of planetary science to be defining planets altogether.

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