ok so I keep seeing posts on my dash about how “NASA has declared Pluto a planet again!!”

A few things about that

first off, NASA was never the one to officially declare Pluto to not be a planet, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) did that.  NASA doesn’t have the authority to do that stuff.  

Secondly, NASA hasn’t said anything about Pluto recently.  In none of the articles linked to these posts does it even mention NASA.  All these articles say is that the majority of the population (according to recent surveys) views Pluto as a planet and that some scientists agree with that.

But officially Pluto is still just a dwarf planet.  

I love Pluto as much as the next person but stop spreading misinformation.



So apparently Pluto is a planet again, based on the fact that it formed around the sun and is round with gravity.

By that logic there’re now 13 planets in the Solar System.

You got Pluto back, nostalgia freaks, so you better accept its new buddies:

Eris, Ceres, Haumea and Makemake.

And also maybe: Orcus, Ixion, Salacia, Varuna, Quaoar, Sedna and my favourites, 2002 MS4, 2007 OR10, 2007 UK126 & 2005 UQ513

So yeah. 13 planets at least, up to 23, maybe more.

And you wonder why they didn’t like calling Pluto a planet.



photos by matt smith from the Illawarra coast in new south wales of bluebottles, violet snails and blue dragons. 

despite its resemblance to the jellyfish, the bluebottle is more closely related to coral. known as a zooid, the bluebottle (or portugese man of war) is a colonial animal composed of many highly specialized and physiologically integrated individual organisms incapable of independent survival. 

the blue dragon — a type of nudibranch, here no larger than a thumbnail, with its own potent sting — is able to eat the nematocysts (stinging cells) of the bluebottle without discharging them and internally relocate them to the tips of each one of the fingers you can see in the pictures.

for their part, the violet snails also feed on the bluebottles.

notes matt, “despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle is an amazingly beautiful creature. with strong winds, hundreds of these cnidaria are blown into the bays around my home town and trapped overnight.”

this allows him to capture the above shots, which he creates with use of a fluorescent tube in his strobe light and a homemade waterproof lens dome.



Bodacious Bull Ants (Formicidae: Myrmeciinae: Myrmecia)

In Australia colonies of Myrmecia (bull ants, bulldog ants, jumping jacks, jackjumpers) are a conspicuous and formidable component of the indigenous biota. Bull ants are dominantly Australian with 89 described species spread across the continent, mainly in the cooler southern regions, and a species in New Caledonia. In the past relatives of these ants were much more widespread, with fossils of at least six extinct genera recorded from the Americas and Europe.

Myrmecia can be tricky to photograph because of their size, excellent vision and aggressive defense of their usually small colonies. You know when you have been bitten by one of these beauties - these images resulted in two bites and I can still feel the result a week later!

Many Little Things with Stings!