Saturday 17 March 2007

Questacon Outreach and Pluto's new friend

This week on the Mr Science Show Podcast, we talk to Jenny Lynch, coordinator of the Questacon outreach centre in Sydney about communicating science around Australia to 1-2 year olds, in shopping centres and in indigenous communities. Questacon is Australia's premiere interactive science centre, and has a number of outreach programs that travel Australia communicating science.

We also find that Pluto has a friend in New Mexico, who refuse to recognise it as a planetoid or dwarf planet, but maintain it to be a planet.

The other voice you hear on this episode is that of Celine Steinfeld.

Grab the podcast here or the mp3 for this edition here


  1. Pluto has way more friends than just New MexicPlease do not blindly accept the controversial demotion of Pluto, which was done by only four percent of the International Astronomical Union, most of whom are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. Stern and like-minded scientists favor a broader planet definition that includes any non-self-luminous spheroidal body in orbit around a star. The spherical part is important because objects become spherical when they attain a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium, meaning they are large enough for their own gravity to pull them into a round shape. This is a characteristic of planets and not of shapeless asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects. Pluto meets this criterion and is therefore a planet. Using this broader definition gives our solar system 13 planets and counting: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris. At the very least, you should note that there is an ongoing debate rather than portraying one side as fact when it is only one interpretation of fact.

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