The Demotion of Pluto from Planetary Status
“Pluto has been voted off the island” (Inman). In August of 2006 the celestial body was officially retitled a dwarf planet. The media’s portrayal of the demotion of Pluto began in 2006 and covered a broad variety of topics including the official ruling in Prague, the public’s reception of the decision, a book written by a scientist claiming sole responsibility for the demotion, and finally NASA’s most recent statement in 2012 regarding the dwarf planet. Media interest in Pluto’s demotion spiked twice, first in 2006 when Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status with both supporters and detractors displayed in the media; in the following years interest waned significantly until the second spike arose in 2010 when Mike Brown published his book. In the 2010 the media presented to the public was strictly supporters. “Throw away the placemats. Grab a magic marker for the classroom charts. Take a pair of scissors to the solar system mobile…Pluto got its walking papers” (Overbye).
The ninth planet Pluto lost its planetary status when it did not “make the cut” after The International Astronomical Union collaborated in Prague to finalize the definition of the word planet. The International Astronomical Union decided that there are eight planetary bodies in Earth’s solar system and that Pluto should be categorized as a dwarf planet. Online newspaper articles from 2006, the year The International Astronomical Union met in Prague, up until 2012 emphasize how the demotion of Pluto was presented to the general public. The articles covered within this six year span emphasize the more scientific aspect of the media’s portrayal of Pluto’s demotion. This timeline begins with the official demotion of ...
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...eral populous receives, the article “What is Pluto” places emphasis on the theory behind the decision and the new categorization of Pluto whilst other media outlets focus on scientists opinions of the change as well as how the change will sit with the general populous.
Originally discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh Pluto was deemed the ninth planet in the solar system, however in 2006 it was demoted to “dwarf planet” or plutoid status. As of late the public’s interest in the demotion of Pluto has waned significantly. The media’s interest of the demotion of Pluto spiked with the official ruling in Prague containing the public’s reception of the decision, and again when a book written by Mike Brown appeared in 2010. Originally controversy ensued with positive and negative views of the decision but as time went on only the positive view was present in the media.
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