Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Support for Pluto Continues to Grow

Eighteen months have passed since the IAU's controversial demotion of Pluto, and it is fascinating to see how the passage of time has not diminished public support for Pluto's reinstatement as a full-fledged planet. If anything, public opposition to the demotion and conviction favoring Pluto's planet status have been growing stronger over the last year and a half.

National Geographic just recognized a fourth grader for creating an eleven-planet mnemonic that includes Ceres, Pluto, and Eris. They plan to publish a new book with updated information on the eleven planets. Notice the reference to eleven planets and the inclusion of "dwarf planets" within the broader planet category. That is what those of us opposed to the IAU decision have been advocating for a year and a half.

I want to give special thanks to New Mexico columnist Jay Miller for his ongoing support of Pluto in his writings, which are published in 15 newspapers in that state. New Mexico is where Clyde Tombaugh, Pluto's discoverer, worked for 50 years, among other things, as a professor of astronomy at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Miller's latest column can be found at http://insidethecapitol.blogspot.com/2008/03/pluto-column-revision.html

Those of you who want to show your support for Pluto through wearing Pluto-themed clothing can purchase T-shirts and sweatshirts at http://www.savepluto.com/ A portion of the proceeds from the sale of items on this site will go towards lobbying efforts for Pluto's reinstatement by the IAU.

This Sunday, March 9, I will be interviewed on WNTI 91.9 FM, Centenary College radio station, at 7:30 AM by Science Editor Karl Hricko, on the subject of Pluto. The broadcast can be heard in the southern New Jersey area. It may also be podcast, so you can watch for it at http://www.wnti.org/ While you're at the web site, also check out a podcast of an interview with a friend of mine, Dr. Ken Kremer, NASA Solar System Ambassador, who discussed NASA's Dawn mission to Ceres and Vesta in an interview with Karl Hricko this past Sunday, March 2.

If you want to sign or circulate the petition Dr. Kremer is sending to the IAU asking them to reinstate Pluto as a planet at their next General Assembly in 2009, please email me at laurelkornfeld@netzero.net . I will be happy to email you a copy of the petition, which simply reads "I believe Pluto is a planet, and a better definition is needed." If you want to circulate the petition for signatures, I will provide you with contact information so you can snail mail the completed petitions back to me.

From me, they will go to Dr. Kremer, who will send them to the IAU. Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto and strong Pluto supporter, is aware of and supportive of this effort. The petitions will be sent to IAU member Brother Guy Consolmagno.

It's only another year and a half until the IAU's next General Assembly in 2009. We have the power to get this unjust demotion reversed, so let's do it!