Blogstorm Erupts Over Pluto's Downgrade to Dwarf Planet

Newsweek Pluto FeatureThe decision by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to drop Pluto as a planet has ignited a blogstorm. The MSM is also heavily covering the story with features in Newsweek and nearly every other media outlet. Some people are accepting the decision as an appropriate scientific move while others are very upset that Pluto is being downgraded to a dwarf planet. There are also the astrological concerns. It actually doesn't change anything in astrology whether Pluto is a planet or not -- it won't change the object's influence. However, Scorpio's sign is closely associated with Pluto. Therefore, Scorpios are being warned by some astrologists that they may have difficulty trying to control their plutonian tempers.

Solar System With Eight Planets

Pluto TechnoratiTechnorati has been running a small feature that says, "Pluto demoted: Blogosphere Aghast!" about the Pluto decision. They have linked the feature to the Pluto tag. Pluto was also four of the top five new stories on August 25th, 2006 according to BlogPulse.

Here are some highlights from the blogosphere about the Pluto decision.

  • Planck's Constant points to a BBC article that says the Pluto vote was hijacked.
  • How popular is dwarf planet 2003 UB313? Technorati shows just over 3,000 posts about 2003 UB313. That isn't very many. The unusual name is just a temporary name for the dwarf planet.
  • Got some Pluto stuff? It soon could be hot on eBay<.
  • Several Pluto-related videos have been posted on YouTube including a helpful video from Bill Nye and a weird video from the Pluto News Network.
  • Planetary Mnemonics. Jason Kottke held a contest to find the best one to fit only eight planets. BL Ochman lists the winner. Blonde Sagacity also searches for new planetary mnemonics.
  • The Half an Hour blog refuses to accept the IAU's decision: "Now they are telling me that Pluto is not a planet. Again, I refuse to accept that. So far as I am concerned, Pluto is a planet (and so are Ceres, Xena and Sedna)."
  • Astronomer Kristin Larsen says not to cry for Pluto. (via A Distant Soil)
  • Cosmic Log reports that Patricia Tombaugh, the widow of Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh, told the AP that the IAU's decision was "disappointing in a way, and confusing."
  • The WOW Report says the real loser is Clyde Tombaugh. They also note that Pluto was named by an 11-year-old English school girl.
  • Dean Dad is refusing to take down's his boy's glow-in-the-dark Pluto: "The Boy has nine (count 'em!) glow-in-the-dark planets hanging from his ceiling, arranged in order around the overhead light, which doubles as the sun. I ain't takin' Pluto down."
  • Bad Astronomy says its a big turnaround from the initial resolution which could have led to many more planets.
  • The Education Wonk blogs that teachers should not fear Pluto being dropped from the "exclusive Celestial Planets Club."
  • Metroblogging LA finds people protesting. One of the signs a person is carrying says, "Uranus is next." Neptune actually could be next.
  • Ken Jennings writes that eight is enough. "don't see the need for all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth over distraught schoolchildren, new textbooks, etc. It's science. Stuff gets upgraded and downgraded and re-classified all the time."
  • The Seven Dwarfs have invited Pluto to be the eight dwarf. "Although we think it's Dopey that Pluto has been downgraded to a dwarf planet, which has made some people Grumpy and others just Sleepy, we are not Bashful in saying we would be Happy if Disney's Pluto would join us as an eighth dwarf. We think this is just what the Doc ordered and is nothing to Sneeze at."
  • Blog Critics calls Pluto the "Rodney Dangerfield of the solar system, the object in space that just gets no respect."
  • Worth1000 is running a Pluto photoshop contest. (via Jaggle)
  • Pluto as a dwarf planet has brought out the science fiction writer in Ollie at Dayorama: "This conjures up the most fantastic image of dwarven aliens - each replete with axe, westcountry accent and fiery temper - one day landing on Earth and enslaving the entire population. "Refer to our planet with politically incorrect terminology, will ye!", they will snarl, as they drink their outlandish alien cider and whistle "Hi Ho" through their grey, lipless mouth sockets."
  • Local blog vs. local newspaper: Blue Oregon blasts The Oregonian's editorial about the Pluto switch from planet to dwarf planet.

    Posted on August 28, 2006

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