Neil de Grasse Tyson’s declaration that Pluto should not be considered the ninth planet in our solar system was one of his most notable and contentious contributions. Tyson removed Pluto from the Hayden Planetarium’s planet display, referring to it as a dwarf planet. Do you know why Tyson gets a lot of hate mail?
Neil deGrasse Tyson, an acclaimed astrophysicist, has received backlashes and hate mails he received from children after declaring Pluto was not a planet.
The Pluto Killer
The director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, as well as the host of the hit Fox show Cosmos, told a packed audience at Cannes Lions that he has been unfairly blamed for Pluto’s demise after demoting it from the ninth planet in our solar system to a mere dwarf planet in an exhibit.
I got blamed for killing Pluto, but I was just an accessory to it. I drove the getaway car for it … Pluto, I am blamed for it, but I want to alert you that it is still not a planet.Neil de Grasse Tyson
After taking off his shoes and delivering the Ogilvy & Mather Inspire lecture in his socks, he continued:
For Pluto lovers, I would say just get over it. In New York, we have put Pluto with its icy brethren in the outer solar system, and I got blamed for this, and the angriest people out there were elementary school children. I have a file cabinet of angry letters.Neil de Grasse Tyson
He read aloud an angry letter from a child that said:
What do you call Pluto if it is not a planet anymore? If you make it a planet again then all the science books will be right. Do people live on Pluto? If there are people who live there they won’t exist. Please write back, but not in cursive because I can’t read in cursive.
That’s what I was dealing with for six years after we opened our exhibit.Neil de Grasse Tyson
Tyson was introduced by Tham Khai Meng, Ogilvy’s worldwide chief creative officer, who listed his many accomplishments, including Time magazines as one of the world’s most influential people in 2014 and People magazine voted him the sexiest astrophysicist alive.
Perhaps the biggest achievement he will be remembered for is a paradox. Not for discovering a planet, but getting rid of one, in 2001 when visitors to the Hayden Planetarium found that there were eight planets instead of the usual nine. Pluto had gone. For a while, he was the Grinch that stole Christmas.Hayden Planetarium
Is Pluto a Planet Again?
Pluto is still not an official planet in our solar system, according to the International Astronomical Union, the organization in charge of naming all celestial bodies and determining their status. Pluto was designated a planet, the ninth in our solar system, soon after its discovery in 1930.
If you slid Pluto to where Earth is right now, heat from the sun would evaporate that ice, and it would grow a tailNeil de Grasse Tyson
(Source: Cosmos on TV)