Editorial: Shut up About Pluto

The collective whining about Pluto’s demotion back in 2006 seemed to have finally, blessedly, died down. I was finally able to walk through the world hearing nary a “when I was your age, Pluto was a planet” joke. As it should be.

Then the International Astronomical Union had to go and ruin it all with a September 18 forum that reignited the debate.

Okay, to be fair, it’s not entirely their fault. They’re exactly the sort of people who should be talking about which giant hunks of space matter get to be planets and which don’t. Because they are astrophysicists. In the meantime, I’m having to deal with a whole new round of pro-Pluto jokes that went stale eight years ago.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who still gets hate mail for the part he played in Pluto’s classification as a dwarf planet, put it best when he discussed the rabid Pluto fandom on an episode of StarTalk Radio back in April.

“I’ve thought long and hard and tried to account for all the emotions they might be feeling, my sensitivities toward them, and my reply is ‘get over it.’”

Neil, Neil, Neil. Moon of my life. My sin, my soul. You finally said it.

If you still obsess over Pluto’s planetary status, here are three things to consider:

1. Given the current scientific definition of a planet, it makes exactly no sense to classify Pluto as one. None. As for the definition itself, let’s leave that up to astrophysicists, shall we? After all, we trust them with the rest of the universe.

2. Nobody is impressed by how you’re “totally such a nineties kid.”

3. There’s so much cool shit in space to talk about. I want to hear more about the Sagittarius B2 gas cloud, which is 1,000 times larger than our solar system and composed largely of alcohol. That’s enough space booze for 400 trillion trillion pints of beer, according to Mental Floss.

Got that, whiners? Less Pluto, more space booze.

Caroline Ferguson