Mike Brown, astronomer and "pluto killer," welcome to the Boing Boing guest blog!

51TBG7G9IeL.jpgWe are delighted to welcome author and astronomer Mike Brown (Twitter) as a visiting guest-blogger this month. He is the author of How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming, which, in fact, comes out on this very day!

Mike is the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, where he teaches classes from introductory geology to the formation of the solar system. He is a native of Huntsville, Alabama, where he grew up listening to the test of the Saturn rockets preparing to go to the moon. He and his research group spend their time searching for and studying the most distant objects in the solar system and drinking coffee.

His guest posts here will pass through a full set of lunar phases, and the solstice, "every astronomers favorite pagan holiday." We've never done that before with a guest blogger— come to think of it, I don't believe we've ever had an astronomer join us as a guest blogger.

As the grand-daughter of an amateur astronomer myself, I'm very excited that with Mike, Boing Boing will boldly go where no blog has gone before.


  1. Getting the obligatory out of the way:
    “Christ, what an asshole!”
    “Oh my God, you killed Pluto! You bastard!”

    Please continue the thread in a thoughtful manner now that the requisite insults have been issued. Thank you.

  2. I’ve met them both, and Mike Brown resembles Gates only in that they share the characteristic of seemingly boundless intellect. They don’t look that much alike in person.

  3. My kids attend, and my wife teaches at, the high school that Mike Brown attended in Huntsville. When he made the cover of Discover magazine a while back, there wasn’t much attention made there (even though it’s still a school with a great science and math curriculum in a town full of engineers and geeks).

    I noted to my wife (and sent Brown an e-mail) that if he was a former graduate who made the cover of Sports Illustrated, there would be a huge banner out in front of the school and a poster of the cover in the front hall.

    Welcome, Mike, and we forgive you for killing Pluto since you also expanded the scope of the Solar system at the same time!

  4. Welcome, Mike!

    I’m reading your book right now, and learning a lot. Looking forward to more great stuff from you here.

  5. I attended Mike’s talk in Tucson a few years back, and his case for killing Pluto sounded pretty reasonable to me.

    Sentiment is a powerful force, however. People have a thing for Pluto, even if it’s just one of hundreds of similar objects in the sky. It has a certain romance.

  6. hi mike, welcome. when i saw your solar system, i am laughed well.
    an arrow killing pluto.how did you think this? and also have read your books. It was very useful for me to learn lot.

  7. What an ironic name for a book. Pluto was labeled as a dwarf planet because of the need for precise terminology. But claiming he killed Pluto is even more inaccurate than calling it a planet. Pluto was never alive, much less perturbed by anyone calling it names.

  8. Not only did Pluto get laid off, but he lost his unemployment benefits too. Meanwhile the big planets like Jupiter and Saturn? Big tax cuts. Man, it stinks.

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