When my copy of the “Naming Pluto” DVD arrived in the post, I was very excited. However, this wasn’t the original plan.
Only a few days earlier, the short film was being aired down the road at the Los Angeles Femme Festival in Beverly Hills and the film’s writer, producer and director Ginita Jimenez had invited me along. Alas, I couldn’t be there (really frustrating as you know how much I love premiers!), so Ginita kindly posted a copy to me.
I had little idea about the history of the naming of Pluto (and I only had a general knowledge about how and when it was discovered), so I was looking forward to being educated as well as entertained.
Fortunately, I had the night to myself to watch Naming Pluto and take notes for a future review of the short film (just posted on the Universe Today). So I dimmed the lights and started the DVD. For the next 13 minutes, I didn’t write a word…
It is hard to describe just how good Naming Pluto is. In 13 minutes, the entire story behind the 1930 discovery and naming of the planet (and I say planet, because as legendary astronomer Sir Patrick Moore states in the film: “…you can call it whatever you like!“) is told, with the help of leading astronomers and historians.
At the time the short film was produced, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) had “demoted” the ninth planet to a “dwarf planet”, accommodating the growing number of Pluto-sized bodies that are being discovered in and around the Kuiper Belt, over 30 AU from the Sun. Since then, a whole new class of outer solar system bodies have been defined as “Plutoids”. Add to this the growing number of Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs), trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), cubewanos, scattered disc objects (SDOs) and plutinos, it’s little wonder that there might be some confusion as to how Pluto should be classified.
However, as Naming Pluto exemplifies, there is no argument against Pluto’s historical status and its standing in the hearts and minds not only of Venetia Phair, who named Pluto after the Roman god of the Underworld when she was a child in 1930, but of school children, professional astronomers and the media alike.
It is a wonderfully moving story of Venetia’s love for a planet she named nearly 80 years ago, tapping into the audiences desire to learn more about the mysterious Planet of the Underworld, Pluto.
Excerpt from the Universe Today review of Naming Pluto:
Naming Pluto explores the chain of events that lead to Pluto’s naming and in 2007 sees Venetia Phair viewing Pluto for the very first time through a telescope, on her 89th birthday, 77 years after Pluto’s discovery. A wonderful, intimate look into the story behind how Pluto got its name. A review of the short film directed and produced by Ginita Jimenez, distributed by Father Films.
If you want your own copy, or want to buy it as a gift, contact Ginita at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of the film:
Title: Naming Pluto
DVD: 16:9 (FHA) (Colour)
Audio: Stereo & 5.1 Dolby
All images used in this review are copyrighted to Father Films 2008. All rights reserved www.fatherfilms.com.