Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto, R. I. P.

Scientists decide Pluto’s no longer a planet - Space News - "PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight.

After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930. The new definition of what is — and isn’t — a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one."


Lonnie Cruse said...

Shouldn't we have been given a chance to vote on that? I've always rather liked Pluto, both the planet and the dog. Does this mean Pluto is no longer a dog? What IS this world coming to? Harrumph.

Brent McKee said...

Obviously a case of changing the criteria if we don't like the results. Astronomers have never liked Pluto because Pluto doesn't fit their rules for the way a planet "should" behave (or because its name is the same as Mickey Mouse's dog). It got worse when other "Pluto-like" bodies were discovered, notably Pluto's moon Charon and "Xena" (which is bigger than Pluto) and its moon "Gabrielle". So you either enlarge the club or redefine the entrance requirements.

Carl V. said...

Someone on another site suggested that Pluto should be 'grandfathered in'. I agree. Hate feeling like something as important as what several generations of people have considered our solar system is now fundamentally altered. Next thing you know they're going to be telling us the earth is round. Knowledge is a dangerous thing.