Planet, or not, Pluto still matters

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Should we believe what they’re saying about Pluto?

Since 1930, when Pluto was discovered, kids around the nation have spent years, months and hours learning how the discovery of Pluto made it nine planets instead of eight.
And there have been countless styrofoam balls twirling off of coat hangers to demonstrate the solar system at school science fairs.

Frankly, I think folks have become fond of Pluto. It was a planet you could get your mind around and attribute some human characteristics to.

Pluto’s like the Rocky of the solar system, the underdog, the smallest guy, hanging out there all on his lonesome.
Sure Jupiter and Saturn, with all those fancy rings, are exciting to ponder. But Pluto’s like a fiesty little Chihuahua that seems more interesting than the giants, and the lesser giants, Uranus and Neptune, that are so much larger than the others. Pluto was like the smaller planets Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the Earth. More like a little brother, if you will.

And now a bunch of scientists in Europe are trying to tell us that all of what we’ve learned was nonsense. Yes, the “International Astronomical Union” has voted to strike Pluto off the list of planets. Where was this vote taken? In Prague, the capital of Czechloslovakia. What? It’s no longer Czechloslovakia, but the Czech Republic? Who voted on that?

But even though that un-elected “Union” expelled Pluto, Pluto is still in the sky, and still in our dictionaries. Take a look. Pluto is: 1) the Roman God of the lower world; 2) the planet in the solar system that revolves around the sun once in every 248.4 years, at an average distance from the sun of 3,700,000,000 miles.

And if Pluto isn’t a planet anymore, then Pluto the Roman God of the lower world ought to get out of there. Same way with “plutocrat” and “plutocracy,” words that mean the rich and world they live in. Why don’t the astronomers vote against them?

Actually, according to the dictionary, the “plutocrats” and “plutocracy” were named after the Greek god of riches, who the Greeks called “Plutus.” Since the Greek civilization came before the Romans, perhaps Plutus got demoted by the Romans who, then, elected Pluto.
Question: Does this “union” of astronomers have the right to demote the Planet Pluto to a dwarf?

And was a record kept of the vote? If so, there ought to be some kind of recount. What? It was just a show of hands? Who counted those hands? It’s like in Congress when the speaker asks for a voice vote and the response is “aye” versus “NAY!” And the speaker says, “The ‘ayes” have it.” And adjourns the session.

In the case of Pluto, some astronomers declared the vote an “outrage” and one said he didn’t think the American astronomers would take the vote “lying down” and when the IAU (the union) meets again, that will be in 2009, they would demand “a revision.”

Good for them! But do we have to wait three years? Shouldn’t there be an RP movement started immediately? You know, “Restore Pluto!”

Come to think of it, Pluto doesn’t have to be restored. He’s still up there, a small guy hanging tough.

Chelle Delaney is associate publisher for the Quay County Sun. Contact her at 461-1952 or by e-mail: