Photo by: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Celebrate the I Heart Pluto Festival, An Ode to the Beloved Planet

Yes, we said "planet." Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona during the month of February in 1930.

Last year on the 90th Anniversary of the discovery, the observatory held its first I Heart Pluto Festival. This year you can be a part of the action.

February 11, 2021

Lowell Observatory will run an all-virtual celebration from February 13–18 to celebrate the history and magic of the outermost planet in our solar system, Pluto. You can join and learn about Pluto with a variety of talks, tours, an art show, and a ham radio event.

Pluto gets into the holiday spirit, decked out in red and green. This image was produced by the New Horizons composition team, using a pair of Ralph/LEISA instrument scans obtained at approximately 9:40 AM on July 14, from a mean range of 67,000 miles (108,000 kilometers). The resolution is about 7 kilometers per LEISA pixel. Three infrared wavelength ranges (2.28-2.23, 1.25-1.30 and 1.64-1.73 microns) were placed into the three color channels (red, green and blue, respectively) to create this false color Christmas portrait.

Photo by: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Pluto gets into the holiday spirit, decked out in red and green. This image was produced by the New Horizons composition team, using a pair of Ralph/LEISA instrument scans obtained at approximately 9:40 AM on July 14, from a mean range of 67,000 miles (108,000 kilometers). The resolution is about 7 kilometers per LEISA pixel. Three infrared wavelength ranges (2.28-2.23, 1.25-1.30 and 1.64-1.73 microns) were placed into the three color channels (red, green and blue, respectively) to create this false color Christmas portrait.

For complete I Heart Pluto Festival program details, including how to join the events, see Iheartpluto.org, but in the meantime here are just some of the events you have to look forward to.

The definition of planethood adopted by the IAU in 2006 makes little sense scientifically, and has been controversial since its inception. Dr. Stern will discuss each of these points, as well as the alternative, and superior, Geophysical Planet Definition used by most planetary scientists. Stern will then describe several ways in which the IAU’s reputation has been hurt by its ill-advised and flawed decision of 2006.

Uncovering Pluto, February 15

Lowell Observatory educators and historians explore the hallowed halls of the observatory, sharing Lowell’s Pluto heritage with stops at the Lawrence Lowell (Pluto Discovery) Telescope, underground vault containing one of the Pluto discovery plates, Clyde Tombaugh’s apartment, the Putnam Collection Center, and more.

Why We Heart Pluto, February 18

An open discussion about the ongoing fascination with Pluto since Clyde Tombaugh's discovery. Ninety-one years after its discovery, Pluto continues to excite the imagination of both scientists and the public. This discussion will explore our scientific, cultural, and historic connections to this beloved world and how we celebrate it.

Joining the conversation is Alden Tombaugh, Clyde’s son, Dave Eicher is Editor-in-Chief of Astronomy Magazine, Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist and leads NASA’s New Horizons mission that explored the Pluto system, Coral Evans is the former Mayor of Flagstaff, and Dr. Jeff Hall is the Director of Lowell Observatory.

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