By Urban Anomie
The distant ice world is no longer a dwarf planet, at least according to the new definition of the term voted on by astronomers in Prague this week.
“This is a major blow to Pluto, which has suffered enough humiliation in recent years,” said astronomer Rob Hawthorne of Mount Royal University in Calgary. “It just got kicked out of the planet club in 2005, and now its getting kicked out of the dwarf planet club. What’s next, we start calling it a ‘large marble?’”
In a move that’s caused outrage on social media and will force textbooks to be rewritten yet again, Pluto will now be dubbed a ‘little person planet,’ removing any potentially politically incorrect or offensive connotations regarding its diminutive stature.
But it’s a move some say has little not very much thought put into it, since there are more than 50 of these dwarf planets, including the large asteroid UB-414, nicknamed Smurf, and Munchkin Land AW-132 discovered earlier this year.
“We’ve discovered over 50 dwarf planets so far,” Hawthorne said. “And we will find thousands more . . . so why aren’t we changing all these planets’ status’?”
Researchers voted 11-2 for the new definition at a meeting of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in the Czech Republic this week. The IAU decides the official classifications of all celestial bodies, including the Sun, which it decided is now classified as “a great ball of fire” earlier this year.
They say the tough decision comes after a series of complaints from ‘little people’ who found the term “dwarf planet” offensive.
“Actually, we joked that Peter Dinklage should be given the honorary title of Chairman of Pluto,” said Dana Levito, clearly upset beneath the surface of the tiny façade she obviously erects as a shield from the judgmental eyes of taller people. “We said it would be a good public relations initiative, and could raise awareness for the daily struggles of little people around the world.”
Levito, a vertically challenged individual herself, since, well, forever, says she sent one letter to the IAU in 2011 requesting the Chairmanship be granted to Dinklage, and that the response she got was extreme.
“No, I didn’t say ‘extreme.’ They basically said, ‘We can’t just go around granting celebrities with such titles,’” said Levito. “And I accepted that. Then the media comes along and blows everything out of proportion.”
But it is Levito who blew things out of proportion, when she stormed out of the Urban Anomie newsroom after she was asked if she wanted a shorter straw for the miniature-sized can of Pepsi that was brought in specifically for her.