The Planet Formerly Known as Pluto
What astronomy needs is a good road trip movie, and NOVA is happy to oblige with a new series, "The Pluto Files," which makes its debut this Tuesday, March 2, at 8 PM (ET/PT) on PBS. It's based on Neil de Grasse Tyson's book of the same name, and features Tyson making the rounds of [...]
What astronomy needs is a good road trip movie, and NOVA is happy to oblige with a new series, "The Pluto Files," which makes its debut this Tuesday, March 2, at 8 PM (ET/PT) on PBS. It's based on Neil de Grasse Tyson's book of the same name, and features Tyson making the rounds of several US cities on a quest to discover why people love this little erstwhile planet, Pluto, so dang much - and were so upset when Pluto lost its planetary status four years ago.
Tyson hits Boston, Florida's Walt Disney World (where he hobnobs with the Disney character, Pluto), California, and Baltimore before heading back to the Haydn Planetarium in New York City. We learn quite a bit about the plucky little former planet's history in the process. Per the NOVA Website:
One of the most memorable stops along the way is Streator, Illinois, home to Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh. In 1930, Tombaugh, a self-taught 24-year-old farm boy with a passion for studying the universe, reported his discovery, one that remains the talk of the town. Tyson gets a strong sense of Tombaugh's "hero" status from chatting with folks at the local barber and coffee shops. They take great pride in Tombaugh's world-renowned discovery-honoring him with plaques and naming their main street after him.
Tyson might not have his own stained glass windows, but he still has friends in high places: the media. The series also features special appearances by Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Diane Sawyer, and Brian Williams, who share their affection for the former planet and (in the promo below) tease Tyson mercilessly for his chutzpah in demoting Pluto. "I'm sorry, I thought planets might be one of the constants in life," Colbert jests in the series. "But scientists just love change more than anything else. I'm sorry that's not change I can believe in."