Vesuvius Day

August 24, 2006 was a sad day for Pluto. Formerly known as a planet, Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet that day. August 24 is now recognized as Pluto Demoted Day. Use the day as an opportunity to learn about Pluto, its new status and its connection to central Illinois.

These days, Pluto is regarded as a dwarf planet. To qualify as a dwarf planet, an object must be fairly round and orbit the sun. Unlike a planet, a dwarf planet has not cleared the area around its orbital path. Also, it is not a satellite, also known as a moon. The decision that cost Pluto its planetary status also outlined three categories of solar system objects: planets, dwarf planets and small solar system bodies.

Clyde William Tombaugh
Clyde William Tombaugh (February 4, 1906 – January 17, 1997) was an American astronomer. Although he is best known for discovering the dwarf planet Pluto in 1930, the first object to be discovered in what would later be identified as the Kuiper belt, Tombaugh also discovered many asteroids; he also called for the serious scientific research of unidentified flying objects.