Is Pluto a Planet? An Animated Explanation Sets the Record Straight or Maybe Just Gives You a Reason to Start Another Argument Online
Perhaps with the exception of Kirk vs. Picard or Dr. Who vs. Sherlock, nothing gets the rabble roused on the ntrnts quite like the debate over Pluto’s planethood. We are oddly sensitive about its 2006 demotion to “minor planet-type thing”. It’s as if we feel cheated in childhood, tricked into expending valuable energy mnemonically memorizing the sequence of the nine planets. That was energy that we could have spent on things like Nintendo. How dare you trick us!
Oddly, we are not at all upset that equal energy was wasted in memorizing the Gettysburg Address and fashioning the accompanying construction-paper stovepipe hat.
But so it goes. Pluto is not a planet anymore, and that pain is part of our shared cultural fabric now (it was even noted by the inimitable Randy Newman in this song).
You have two options: (1) Get over it and learn why it isn’t a planet or (2) Assume the confrontational fetal position and continue to fight for Pluto’s respect.
This video is full of really awesome demonstrations of scale (Pluto isn’t even the biggest thing in its own neighborhood), terminology (why “planet” is a pretty annoying word), and the true state of planetary knowledge (and where it’s going), and it will help you do one of those things.
(via Brain Pickings, video by C.G.P. Gray)