Brian May visited with NASA's New Horizons team in 2015.
You might not care what Keith Richards or Jimmy Page think about Pluto's status as a dwarf planet, but when Queen guitarist Brian May speaks up about it, it's worth a listen.
May, who received his doctorate in astrophysics in 2007, posted his Pluto thoughts on
Instagram late Wednesday after hearing about how NASA administrator . Jim Bridenstine still thinks of Pluto as a full-on planet
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) tightened up its definition of a planet in 2006 and
demoted Pluto to dwarf-planet status, sparking an that just won't rest. May is on the pro-planet side of the argument. ongoing debate
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Well, not that I have any authority... but, for what it’s worth, I strongly agree. Pluto was discovered and named as a planet a while before I was born. At that time it was generally instinctively understood that a Planet was one of a family of roughly spherical objects that orbited the Sun (rather than orbiting something else). So, to me, Pluto is a classical PLANET. End of story. We can easily choose to make Pluto the outer edge of the classical planet zone, in which case we’ll end up with 9 planets and an ever-increasing number of Kuiper Belt Objects great and small, as they are discovered. Anybody like my definition ? It would have saved a lot of trouble 10 years ago !! Incidentally, the origins of the word planet are no help at all. The word simply means “wandering star” from the Greek, as I understand it, although Greek is not my strong point ! 💥💥💥💥 Let’s hear it for PLUTO - the 9th Planet !! If you agree, let me know - and I will show Alan Stern - the genius who revealed the magnificent appearance of Pluto at close quarters - through the NASA New Horizons Mission. I was proud to be a very small part of that triumph. Alan’s team use a nine-fingered salute (to which I subscribe) so there is little doubt what side they are on !!! Bri
"Pluto was discovered and named as a planet awhile before I was born," May wrote on Instagram. "At that time it was generally instinctively understood that a planet was one of a family of roughly spherical objects that orbited the sun (rather than orbiting something else)."
May said he sees Pluto as a "classical planet" and suggested we consider it the outer edge of a classical planet zone.
May has stay involved in the cosmos since receiving his degree. He
hung out with NASA's New Horizons team in 2015 after the spacecraft went in for a flyby of Pluto and in 2018 as it approached the space rock wrote a song for the spacecraft . Ultima Thule
"Let's hear it for Pluto -- the 9th planet!" May wrote. The IAU, which is responsible for handling these things, doesn't agree.
May's comments won't swing Pluto back into the full-planet zone, but it does highlight the divide among scientists on this cosmic hot-button topic.