Scientist Cuts Planet Population; Claims Pluto Is Only a Satellite
Too "Queer a Duck"
The most famous discovery of the late Percival Lowell '76--Planet Pluto--may not be a bona fide planet after all. Dr. Gerard P. Kuiper of the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory has declared to the scientific world that Pluto is not a planet, but instead only one of Neptune's satellites.
Two college professors agreed last night that Kuiper's claim is a perfectly possible one, but both felt that it would be quite difficult to prove.
Kuiper has said in an interview, "The heavenly body we know as Pluto is in reality only one of Neptune's satellites that broke way untold millions of years ago."
Kuiper, one of the world's greatest astronomers, bases his theory on the observations that Pluto takes too long--six and a half days--to describe an orbit "too eccentric for a planet," and is much too small to deserve the title of planet.
Frederick L. Whipple, professor of Astronomy, conceded that Kuipe's theory sounds "quite sensible," but added, "how could he ever prove it?"
Jan B. Bok, Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy, said, "I must say, it sounds like rather a cute idea." Bok praised Kuiper as "the custodian of the Solar System. Whenever he says something, you'd better listen to him." Bok added, "Although Kuiper's theory makes a good deal of sense, I still consider Pluto as a genuine planet. It certainly is queer duck, though."