Owen Gingerich wasn’t in Prague on August 24, 2006. He followed the bizarre ‘planetary elections’ at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) via the IAU’s webcast. And it was pretty depressing. Right up to the last minute, Gingerich – Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University – had argued for Pluto to retain its planetary status, but it had all been in vain. That Thursday afternoon, at 3.32 pm European time, the curtain finally fell for the smallest and most remote planet in the solar system. Pluto was no longer one of the family.