Democratic Governor Names Non-Planet State Planet

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) named Pluto the Arizona state planet. However, Pluto was demoted to the status of a dwarf planet almost two decades ago and represented an embarrassing moment for the Democratic governor.

The governor signed a state legislature bill that called Pluto the state’s official planet. The measure was one of dozens of recently passed bills by the state legislature.

The bill reads that “Pluto is the official state planet” and passed the Arizona state House of Representatives 52-0. The same bill passed the Arizona state Senate 24-7 last month.

Part of the reasoning behind the effort was he fact that the former ninth planet from the sun was discovered in Arizona.

Scientist Clyde Tombaugh first sighted the planet at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1930. Following the discovery the body was named a planet until it was demoted by the International Astronomical Union in 2006.

A number of scientists and politicians opposed the move to demote the small astronomical feature.

This included Arizona state Rep. Justin Wilmeth (R), who introduced the bill calling Pluto Arizona’s official planet. he said that the discovery of Pluto was a “major astronomical achievement and it happened here in Arizona.”

“That’s something for every single citizen of this state to be proud of and it’s why I decided to sponsor the bill,” he said.

The successful effort in the state legislature also comes amid increasing interest in Pluto. The dwarf planet was extensively photographed for the first time by the New Horizons space probe, launched in 2006 before Pluto’s demotion.

After flying past Jupiter, the spacecraft reached Pluto in late 2014 and early 2015. The probe sent a variety of photos and measurements from the planet in 2016 before continuing past Pluto and toward the borders of the solar system.

The photographs of Pluto renewed interest in the planet after its reduction in status. The New Horizons probe also got photos of the one full-sized moon Charons and four smaller-sized moons orbiting the planet.