A Condolence Letter

Dear Pluto,

According to various internet sources, I have heard that today is the four year anniversary of your sad demotion from planet to, well, I don't know what to. Hopefully the term is something nicer than "space junk." I'm sorry I have not paid much attention to you lately. I started college, you went into sad planetary obscurity, and I guess I could have made an effort, but it was easier to grow apart than to face up to the fact that you had been forced to change.

We had some great times. From Magic School Bus to science class. And even though I picked Venus for my sixth grade science project, you understood. Though we didn't get a chance to hang out when I went to high school because I had other, more pressing state required courses to take, you were still always there, a comforting ninth planet.

Well, I need to go now. Hope you are well, hanging out behind Neptune. Tell the big guy I said hi, ok?


-- Faith


  1. The term is Dwarf Planet and has the following definition

    Dwarf Planet- a celestial body that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, but has not cleared its neighboring planetesimals and is not a satellite. More explicitly, it has to have sufficient mass to overcome its compressive strength and achieve hydrostatic equilibrium.

    This term came about because of the discovery of trans Uranian-Neptune objects that rivaled Pluto in size, but were not planets in and of themselves. The discovery of Eris (appropriately named after the goddess of discord) in around 2005 helped bring this about. Keep in mind that Pluto is similar in size to its major satellite Charon ( there are two other known satellites of Pluto, Nix and Hydra), with Charon being only half of its size.

    There are five dwarf planets with only Ceres and Pluto having been observed enough to demonstrate the definition. Eris is accepted because it is more massive than Pluto. The other two are Makemake and Haumea

    I don't really understand the sentiment in regards to Pluto's planethood. I know this makes science seem wishy washy and always changing, but that is part of the beauty of it. As we learn more and more about our world, universe, reality, the better we are able to describe it. This does entail changing old ideas as newer ones that better explain the data surface. This may seem a bit revisionist but it is definitely worth the effort. I have a problem with how the media handles scientists that make us look kind of odd, but we are not always the best communicators.

    Ultimately, the take home lesson here is that the universe is far more beautiful and complicated than we could ever imagine.

  2. I came online in search of Dwarf Planet.but this article helped me in learning more than the meaning! thanks

    Condolence Letters