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The reason space fans don't want to use the name 'Planet 9' for possible faraway body is a hoot
Space fans have taken issue with the term "Planet Nine" being used for a possible planet — because it's an insult to the astronomer who discovered Pluto. (Photo by NASA/APL/SwRI via Getty Images)

The reason space fans don't want to use the name 'Planet 9' for possible faraway body is a hoot

As most of us know, before poor ol' Pluto lost its lofty planet status and got stuck with the second-tier term "dwarf planet" — a politically incorrect moniker if there ever was one — Pluto also was known as the ninth planet.

And in the wake of the interstellar slap in Pluto's face, it seems that opened the door for a possible planet — it's existence hasn't been proven yet — in the outer solar system to be named "Planet Nine."

Ouch.

But Pluto fans strike back!

An item in July's Planetary Exploration Newsletter from planetarynews.org argues that using the term "Planet Nine" is "insensitive" to the astronomer who discovered Pluto:

More from the item:

We the undersigned wish to remind our colleagues that the IAU planet definition adopted in 2006 has been controversial and is far from universally accepted. Given this, and given the incredible accomplishment of the discovery of Pluto, the harbinger of the solar system's third zone — the Kuiper Belt — by planetary astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh in 1930, we the undersigned believe the use of the term "Planet 9" for objects beyond Pluto is insensitive to Professor Tombaugh's legacy.

"We further believe the use of this term should be discontinued in favor of culturally and taxonomically neutral terms for such planets, such as Planet X, Planet Next, or Giant Planet Five," the entry continued, ending with the names of 35 apparent Pluto aficionados as the "undersigned."

The Planetary Exploration Newsletter “provides an open conduit of news and announcements across the professional community of planetary science and related disciplines. It distributes messages from NASA officials, meeting announcements, job announcements, and your submissions of news regarding or impacting solar system exploration, upcoming mission events, policy issues, and editorials," the website says, according to KTVT-TV.

All editorial work is volunteer, the station added.

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Dave Urbanski

Dave Urbanski

Sr. Editor, News

Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@DaveVUrbanski →