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Wikipedia for the Weird: List of Solar System bodies formerly regarded as planets
Pluto isn’t the only planet to get demoted.
Sometimes what’s been deemed “verified” on Wikipedia seems too strange to be true. In Wikipedia for the Weird, the Daily Dot tracks down the most bizarre and entertaining entries on the Web’s crowdsourced encyclopedia, sending you down the rabbit hole even further.
Alas, “The Artists Formerly Known as Planet,” a.k.a. List_of_Solar_System_bodies_formerly_regarded_as_planets, is quite possibly the saddest subsection of the scientific world of Wikipedia.
I can’t imagine anything worse in the spectrum of outer space than previously being known as a planet, only to be proven so very otherwise. (Well, maybe black holes are also kind of depressing, but in a “it can continue to grow by absorbing mass from its surroundings” type of way.)
Probably the ultimate sadface, former planet (that most people still refuse to admit has been “declassified”) is Pluto. In 2006, waaayyyyy after we thought these things had been completely established, after we had memorized the planets (from closest by to furthest away) all by name, scientists decided to take away its planet status and re-name it a mere “dwarf planet”.
We didn’t take this lightly. Even New Mexico’s House of Representatives (apparently, not busy with other issues pressing the state) passed a resolution declaring that “Pluto will always be considered a planet while in New Mexican Skies.” Heads up, New Mexico: We all share the same sky. It’s a metaphor, but it is ALSO SCIENTIFICALLY REAL. Sorry guys.
Other now-dwarfs, former-planets? Ceres & Eris fit the bill, although neither ever achieved Pluto celebrity, fortunately. And let’s not forget that the Sun was once deemed a planet. Now it’s just a star.
Photo via tnwanderer/Flickr
Lindsey Weber is a writer and editor who's worked for Flipboard, Mel Magazine, Slate, Eater, Wirecutter, Billboard, and more. She currently hosts a VR talk show called Conundrums.