I refuse to accept Pluto’s resignation as a planet.
– Amy Lee
If you’re like us, you grew up with a solar system that had nine planets in it. You also grew up in world that didn’t teach new math, but that’s a rant for a different day. Then one day they suddenly decided that designating Pluto as a planet was just wrong, and our most distant friend in the solar system suddenly was told he wasn’t good enough for the planet club anymore, and would forever be considered a ‘dwarf planet’. Kind of a consolation prize for those not cool enough for the big planets club. Pluto Day celebrates the discovery of Pluto in 1930, when it was designated as a planet, and that’s how it should have stayed!
History of Pluto Day
The story of how Pluto was discovered actually starts in the 1840’s, when one Urbain Le Verrier determined that there was a planet outside of Uranus, but that planet obviously wasn’t Pluto, it was Neptune. But the same methods by which Neptune was discovered led to another beyond it. You see, Uranus was demonstrating some oddities in its orbit, oddities caused by its nearest, yet undiscovered, neighbor, Neptune. Once they were able to actually observe Neptune, they realized that another planet must be disturbing Uranus’s orbit as well, what they were seeing couldn’t be explained merely by Neptune.
This led to a search for Planet X (an Amazing name that we think Pluto should have kept, but we’re not able to do anything about that, obviously) headed by Percival Lowell. Unfortunately Powell would pass from this mortal coil (and into the hands of Pluto, God of the Dead) before Pluto was discovered… At least, before he would know about it. You see, during their surveys of the deep sky in search of ‘Planet X’, two faint smudges would appear that were later to be revealed to be Pluto.
The actual discovery of Pluto happened in February of 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh. After so many years and so many lives spent searching for it, we think that Pluto deserves to remain a planet, don’t you?
How to celebrate Pluto Day
The best way to celebrate Pluto Day is to learn as much about this planet (yes we said PLANET) as you can. It’s got an interesting history, and a composition of some familiar substances. Oh yes, for those who’d like to know? Pluto was named by Venetia Burney, an 11 year old who had a fascination with classical mythology.