The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 31, 2014

Astrophysicist denies blame for death of Pluto

LEWISBURG — The sexiest astrophysicist alive, Neil deGrasse Tyson, told a capacity crowd of 1,200 at Bucknell University on Thursday night that he is not to blame for the death of Pluto.

Tyson argued before those assembled inside the Weis Center for the Performing Arts that he’s been unfairly singled out for Pluto’s demotion to a dwarf planet in 2006.

But ...

Video by Amanda August/The Daily Item

“I was an accessory to the fact,” he said. “All I did was drive the getaway car.”

Pluto’s arch-nemesis was actually astronomer Mike Brown, author of “How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming,” Tyson said.

In defending Brown’s decision, Tyson said Pluto was smaller than Earth’s moon — “so it would be a pretty pathetic planet.”

To those upset about Pluto, he said: “Get over it. Pluto is still not a planet. And why does it really matter to you?”

A cross-generational crowd filled every seat in the building — students, seniors, children — who came early to see the man whom “Time” magazine named one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2007, and “People” magazine selected as “the sexiest astrophysicist alive.”

Tyson is a clever, engaging speaker, and offers commentaries while spinning around the stage, microphone in hand and joking as he keeps on topic — the latest discoveries in the universe, which was hugely entertaining and informative.

He talked about the so-called Super Moon of 2012.

“It wasn’t that much bigger than other full moons,” he said.

Of comet Ison: It “went too close to the sun and melted.”

“There is so much we still don’t know and can’t explain,” he said, while talking about the end of the universe. “We’re expanding rapidly and so what will happen, eventually, is that this universe of ours will end, not with a bang, but with a whimper.”

Before his lecture, Tyson spoke about his upcoming projects — an updating of the old Carl Sagan series, “Cosmos,” which he will host on Fox TV.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “I have editorial control, which is the only way I’d have committed to the project.”

As a student, he met Sagan, “who was very gracious to me. He didn’t have to be. I was just a young man trying to decide which school to go to. And he was teaching at Cornell University.”

He also spoke about the popularity of “The Big Bang Theory,” the No. 1-rated comedy on television, “and it’s about geeks, which is pretty cool if you think about it.”

Tyson hesitated to add that he’s appeared on the show as a guest star.

Tyson’s ability to speak to the masses about science in an understandable way is what has made him such a unique public speaker.

“I can speak one on one to other scientists using a jargon that is very familiar to scientists,” he said. “And then I can switch to being able to explain concepts in a way that everyone can understand. I think that’s important.”

Text Only
  • spider24online.jpg Arachnid alert!

    We came across this spider brunching on another today near the American Legion post in Herndon. We aren't sure what type of spiders they are. Particularly the one with the full stomach. Do you?

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 400-pound bull on the lam

    State police and a western Pennsylvania cattle owner are looking for a 2-year-old bull that has been missing for more than a week.

    July 23, 2014

  • Complainer: Cars whiz by, and drivers take whiz

    The Pennsylvania Turnpike has asked state police to increase patrols near an area of the toll road where a woman says she can see motorists exposing and relieving themselves near her backyard.

    July 23, 2014

  • Jay Paterno sues Penn State for ’rush to judgment’

    STATE COLLEGE - Two former Penn State assistant football coaches, including a son of the late Joe Paterno, are suing the university, alleging that it fired them prematurely after the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal surfaced.

    July 23, 2014

  • Today's Editorial: Experts showing the way for reform

    Domestic abuse remains one of the most prevalent crimes nationally yet remains routinely unreported.

    July 23, 2014

  • Feds ship 500 children to Pennsylvania

    HARRISBURG — An influx of unaccompanied children crossing the southern U.S. border is spilling into Pennsylvania, as state officials received word Monday that more than 500 are being housed in the commonwealth.

    July 22, 2014

  • Hope Lewis Inmate's widow wants $750,000 from Northumberland County

    SUNBURY — The widow of a Shamokin man who hanged himself inside Northumberland County Prison is demanding $750,000, the firing of all jail employees who worked the night of June 16 and a complete overhaul of policies and procedures for suicidal inmates.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vancliff Lifer gets more time for molesting Danville girls

    WILKES-BARRE — A convicted murderer accused of having persuaded a former Danville woman to bring two girls to visit him in a northeastern Pennsylvania prison so he could molest them has been sentenced to additional prison time and fined.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Union County driver, 86, dies near Weikert

    WEIKERT — An 86-year-old Weikert man died in a one-car accident Tuesday morning, when he lost control of his vehicle on Weikert Road in front of the Union County Sportsman’s Club, veered off the road and slammed into a tree.

    July 22, 2014

  • Director hired for Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area

    BURNSIDE — An Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area committee member with experience in the ATV industry was named the operations director of the park during Monday night’s authority meeting.

    July 22, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.