Neil deGrasseTyson Receives Irate Mail from Kids After Pluto Gets Booted from List of Planets

Pluto hatemailIn 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.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Deliv­ers the Great­est Sci­ence Ser­mon Ever

Stephen Col­bert Talks Sci­ence with Astro­physi­cist Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson Lists 8 (Free) Books Every Intel­li­gent Per­son Should Read

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