What Happened To Pluto?

MAS Membership Meeting for May 20, 2016

Astronomy is not normally controversial, but the status of Pluto as a planet in our Solar System ignites a lot of passion. Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was immediately labeled our 9th planet. And if you learned about the Solar System before August of 2006, you were taught that there are 9 planets. And then, suddenly, we had only 8 as Pluto was "demoted" as a planet. What happened? It is very understandable that the general public are confused, but even within the astronomy community this continues to be a topic of much debate.

And Pluto has been much in the news recently because of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft which did a flyby and is now sending back very detailed images of this very mysterious and now much maligned world.

For our Membership Meeting of May 20th, at 8:00PM our Observatory Director, Gene Hanson will give his talk on this very topic. He'll discuss not just Pluto, but give you a tour of the Solar System and run through the myriad of definitions of planet over time. And speaking of passion, don't be surprised if you see him get on his "soap box" a couple of times during the talk.

Remember, the public is invited to our membership meetings!