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Post details: Pluto is a planet, Goofy isn't

Pluto is a planet, Goofy isn't

Pluto is definitely one of my favorite planets. An outlier wending its way so far out that the Sun must seem like a mere bright dot from its frozen surface and the whole intergalactic space is just a stone's throw away. The ninth planet discovered when I was merely -31 years of age. The mysterious orb. If I was a planet, I'd love to be a Pluto, the guardian dog circling the outskirts of our world on a very flimsy leash.

Yet today, at the astronomical congress in Prague, Pluto was stripped of its planetary status and with it of all the attendant perks. No more frolicking in youngster's memory, no more luring NASA space crafts into its lonely kingdom, no more guest appearances on TV trivia shows. In a few years, it will regress from a household name to an obscure item in almanacs of cranky astronomers.

I know it is just a small rock and the eccentricity of its orbit is a tad higher than is customary for the Newton law abiding denizens of the Solar System, but it has been inciting our imagination for nearly 80 years and it has earned a firm place in our culture.

A friend of mine has a pair of rabbits and when I once asked him whether he would ever eat them, he said with a lick of indignation: "I don't eat anything that has a name". And I think we should follow the suit here and not demote any celestial body to which we have given a moniker.



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