Tuesday, December 1

Mark Brown, “the man who killed Pluto” and left us with only 8 planets

  • Bethan Head
  • BBC Witness History


Now they call him “dwarf”.

“For 76 years, it was considered the ninth planet in our solar system, but today, scientists have demoted Pluto for being too small”.

With those words, BBC journalist Fiona Bruce gave the news that was going around the world on August 24, 2006, causing a wave of widespread indignation.

While those in charge of updating the information in encyclopedias and textbooks put their hands to their heads, the internet multiplied memes in which Pluto appeared expressing emotions ranging from anger to loneliness, passing through sadness.

And the person responsible for the tragedy had a name: Mike Brown, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology known as CalTech.

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