The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet review

51plaz62TL The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of Americas Favorite Planet

When the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History reclassified Pluto as an icy comet, the New York Times proclaimed on page one, “Pluto Not a Planet? Only in New York.” Immediately, the public, professionals, and press were choosing sides over Pluto’s planethood. Pluto is entrenched in our cultural and emotional view of the cosmos, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, award-winning author and director of the Rose Center, is on a quest to discover why. He stood at the heart of the controversy over Pluto’s demotion, and consequently Plutophiles have freely shared their opinions with him, including endless hate mail from third-graders. With his inimitable wit, Tyson delivers a minihistory of planets, describes the oversized characters of the people who study them, and recounts how America’s favorite planet was ousted from the cosmic hub.

A perfect example of American thought processeses: We’ve discovered over 100 more orbiting items in our solar system, all in the same orbit as Pluto Kuiper . It was the first planet that a scientist in our country discovered, so naturally Americans are resistant to change their world view in light of the new information. Should we name everything out there a planet? Not in my opinion. Pluto certainly isn’t in the same class as the other 8, and isn’t even the largest of the objects in the belt it lives in. NDT makes a great case for opening the discussion and offers methods of how to gently move people into the right frame of thought, but man there are some angry people out there that want to hold onto old information without considering the new.

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