• WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory

Pluto is a planet again - at least in Illinois

'Pluto Day' one week away
March 6, 2009 10:22:01 AM PST
The Illinois State Senate says Pluto was "unfairly downgraded" to dwarf planet status.In the rest of the world Pluto lost its planetary status in 2006. However, the state senate has decided it is still a planet- at least in Illinois.

A February 26 resolution adopted by the state senate honors the Streator,Ill.-born astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930 by declaring March 13, 2009, "Pluto Day" in the State of Illinois.

The resolution states Dr. Clyde Tombaugh first noticed Pluto when he worked at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz. It also says Pluto was "unfairly downgraded" when the International Astronomical Union voted to demote it.

No word yet on how to best observe Pluto's big day, but revelers might want to consider using a telescope.

The State of New Mexico's legislature passed a similar resolution honoring Tombaugh, a long-time resident of that state.

The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Gary Dahl, (R)-Springfield.

The resolution is posted online: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/96/SR/09600SR0046.htm

Pluto's Timeline

1906: A search for Planet X was on because of Neptune's orbit.

Feb. 18, 1930: Planet X is discovered by Clyde Tombaugh

March 24, 1930: Planet X is named Pluto, the suggestion of an 11-year-old girl. Pluto was an alternative name for Hades, a Greek god of the underworld.

1931: Disney names Mickey Mouse's dog Pluto in honor of the new planet.

1978: Discovery of Pluto's moon, Charon, allows for measurements. That casts doubt of whether Pluto is big enough to be a planet.

1989: NASA flyby of Neptune shows Planet X may not have been necessary. This leads to even more questions of Pluto's status as a planet. The discovery of Pluto where Planet X would have been is considered a coincidence by many.

1992: The Kuiper belt, comprised of objects similar to Pluto's shape and size are discovered.

2003: Mission launched to Pluto, reportedly with Tombaugh's ashes onboard. Will arrive in 2015.

2006: International Astronomical Union (IAU) defines the requirements for a 'planet.' Pluto no longer qualifies.

Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006: Pluto stripped of its title of planet. Now considered a dwarf planet.

2007: Plutoed: to demote or devalue someone or something becomes term of the year as voted on by the American Dialect Society.

February 26, 2009: Illinios senate declares Pluto a planet.

March 13, 2009: First 'Pluto Day' in Illinois.


Load Comments