In the late 1990s, Neil deGrasse Tyson and his colleagues redesigned the Hayden Planetarium and, without much comment, they created a model of the solar system that banished Pluto from the list of planets. During the following year, no one said very much. But then The New York Times published an article (January 22, 2001) called “Pluto’s Not a Planet? Only in New York,” and all hell broke loose, particularly in the elementary schools. School kids were incensed, and the letters of complaint rolled in. You can find one such example from “Emerson” above. Five other letters can be found over at Mental Floss.
Of course, we all know how this story ends. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union officially exiled Pluto from the “pantheon of planets,” and later Tyson wrote a book recounting his role in the messy affair, The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet.