Archive for 26th August 2006

Poor Pluto, Sad Pluto

Let’s all shed a tear for Pluto, for it has been demoted and is no longer considered a planet — as far as the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is concerned anyway.

On Thursday, at their 26th General Assembly in Prague, an clear majority passed a resolution to define separate categories for bodies in the Solar System that have mostly cleared their orbit of other objects (‘planets’) and bodies that have not (‘dwarf planets’). Furthermore, a specific resolution was passed to create a category of Pluto-like objects starting with the text “Pluto is a ‘dwarf planet’…”, making it unequivocally clear.

Personally, I think it’s about time it was recognised that while Pluto may once have been unique, today it is only one of many such bodies out beyond Neptune, some of which may be bigger than Pluto. On the other hand, culturally, Pluto has long been considered a planet and seems to be well-loved. (Lucy and I even had a fight once because she thought I didn’t care about Pluto… :roll: )

Ah well, such is science. Too bad we can’t just make exceptions… but don’t worry Pluto, you’ll still have a special place in the hearts of many of us. If you can get over that “damn you Earthlings, shove it up Uranus” feeling, that is! :D

New Scientist: Pluto gets the boot as the planet count drops
BBC News: Pluto loses status as a planet

1 comment 13 years, 10 months ago


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