On Tuesday, July 14, NASA made history by reaching Pluto for the first time as their New Horizons spacecraft flew over the dwarf planet at just 7,550 miles above the surface. It was an incredible achievement for NASA and humankind.
But, famed astrophysicists and director of the Hayden Planetarium, wasn’t as impressed as some. On the momentous day, he tweeted to his 3.96 million Twitter followers:
“Dear Pluto, lookin’ good. But you’re still a Dwarf Planet — get over it. Love, Neil deGrasse Tyson.”
“Hey @neiltyson, I’m sick of you hitting Pluto below the Kuiper belt. Come here and pick on someone in your own orbit!”
The two men followed up their Twitter fued in person in this delightfully informative and hilarious clip, provided below. In the end, deGrasse Tyson held firm to his belief that Pluto deserves to be a dwarf planet, saying that Pluto is “only awesome, minus 10 per cent”, despite Colbert bribing him with a Klondike bar to change his mind and reinstate Pluto as a planet.
DeGrasse Tyson’s argument has to do with the fact that he doesn’t believe that Pluto’s size is qualified for planet status, even though NASA has announced that the dwarf planet is slightly larger than they thought.
To prove his point, deGrasse Tyson told Colbert that if Neptune were a Chevy Impala, then would Pluto be a matchbox car, at best!
Tyson said that to deem Pluto a “planet” would insult all the other planets in the solar system. His one concession was that Jupiter is eleven times bigger than the Earth, whereas Earth is only five times as big as Pluto.
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