This week’s core Friday lecture was on “The Pluto Files”. It showed a video on why Neil Degrasse Tyson declared Pluto as “not” being a planet and the controversy it stirred up throughout the nation and other parts of the world. The video also showed us how Pluto was first discovered by a farmer in the U.S. who constructed his own telescope with pieces of farm material. This discovery made a mark in American history and that is one of the many reasons why the “degradation” of Pluto’s status became such a controversial issue.
This video allowed me to have a deeper understanding in why Pluto is and is not a planet. It made me wonder and two different voices played in my mind. A part of me agrees that Pluto is not a planet and another part of me thinks that Pluto is. Which is true? After spending a large amount of time contemplating between these voices, I have arrived to a conclusion that neither is right or wrong.
The part of me that agrees that Pluto should not be a planet says that context in science has always been changing as advancements in technology and human creativity continues to prevail. Take Galileo for example; his proposal about the Earth not being in the center of the universe sparked outrage throughout society of his time but in the end, his assumptions were correct. Another part of me insists on keeping Pluto as a planet in our solar system for tradition and the fact that there is a blurred understanding of what qualifies to be a planet since we lack the understanding of our solar system and the rest of the universe.
My questions: How do you think that controversy of Pluto now being a dwarf planet is related to historical events? Would you agree that history tends to repeat itself? Do you agree that is it important for one to challenge conventional wisdom and claim that Pluto is not a planet?
Why do you think Pluto’s status is an important part of the intro to Core One?
I think the introduction of Pluto’s status to core one is important because we get to see who supports Pluto as being a planet and the others that oppose it. Are the people who support Pluto too stubborn to adjust to changes in the scientific world?? Or is it that the people who see Pluto as a dwarf planet were just too lenient to the changes that the high authorities in the scientific world make? By bringing this topic up for discussion, we get to hear both side’s point of view and reasoning and what other controversial issues it may include.
On the plus side about educating students about this topic, it contributes to ridding the ignorance within people and potentially preventing unnecessary bitterness towards the topic of Pluto being a “dwarf planet”. To be honest, I was angry when I found out that Pluto was no longer a planet but I never knew the reasons why it was degraded. All I was told was that Pluto was just a tiny ball of ice orbiting in our solar system. A couple of years back I thought to myself, “That’s it?! THAT’S why it’s not considered a planet anymore?! Size doesn’t matter!”
After reading the articles on Pluto and the research conducted to support its claim about Pluto being a dwarf planet, I now understand the other side of the story and I can finally stop feeling bitter due to my ignorance on the topic. Since I have been enlightened by information from both sides of the story, I can be open-minded and place my opinion on this topic. I feel that some people who are against the idea of Pluto being a dwarf planet is making this subject too personal but I must not forget to mention that they are not wrong either. In fact, neither sides are right or wrong because this topic has shown us how little we actually know about the universe, our theories taught worldwide that might be altered by future inventions and experimental break-through, and what does qualify to be considered a planet in our solar system.
My question: When you found out that Pluto was no longer a planet in our solar system, how did you feel about it? Were you apathetic, sad, or angry? Why did you feel this emotion?