Every February 18th is observed as Pluto Day — a holiday that’s dedicated to the discovery of Pluto in the year 1930. This dwarf planet lies in the Kuiper Belt out past Neptune. Although it was originally classified as a planet when it was first discovered, its status was soon taken when it was reclassified as a dwarf planet.
A move that made fans of Pluto extremely angry. And that is why this holiday is now celebrated every year. It’s a day for fans of Pluto to get together and debate whether Pluto’s status as a planet was justified or if it was just a case of astronomical politics.
The History Of Pluto Day
The first time it was suggested that Pluto even existed, much less was a planet, was by American astronomer Percival Lowell in 1905. He made this discovery while he was observing the deviations in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus. He thought that there would have to be the gravitational pull of another celestial body to cause discrepancies in their orbits.
Although he predicted where this planet’s location was in 1915, he died before he could officially discover it. Pluto wouldn’t get officially discovered until 1930 when Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory found it based on predictions by Lowell.
The name of Pluto came from 1-year-old Venetia Burney of Oxford, England who suggested to her grandfather that the planet gets its name from Pluto — the Roman god of the underworld. The name was then passed on to Lowell Observatory.
Up until 2006, Pluto was considered to be one of the 9 planets of our solar system. Then the International Astronomical Union changed its status to a dwarf planet. This means that it doesn’t meet the criteria to be a full-sized planet. Although this is the official position of scientists around the world, many people are less pleased with this result.
Some Facts About Pluto
Now, let’s get down to brass tacks and find out something about this dwarf planet. Below are some things that we learned during our research and we think they’re the perfect facts to get people started in developing a lifetime love for Pluto.
- Pluto is smaller than Earth’s moon.
- Pluto has a heart shape on its surface.
- Because of Pluto, scientists discovered the Third Zone of the Solar System.
Observing Pluto Day
This is the perfect day for people to educate themselves about this dwarf planet and its characteristics. This can be done by watching a documentary, reading a book on the subject, or even setting up a telescope and having a look for yourself. People are also encouraged to spread the word about this holiday using the hashtag #PlutoDay on social media.