Skip to comments.Vote Makes It Official: Pluto Isn’t What It Used to Be
Posted on 08/25/2006 10:52:01 AM PDT by neverdem
Pluto got its walking papers yesterday.
Throw away the place mats. Redraw the classroom charts. Take a pair of scissors to the solar system mobile.
After years of wrangling and a week of debate, astronomers voted for a sweeping reclassification of the solar system. In what many of them described as a triumph of science over sentiment, Pluto was demoted to the status of a dwarf planet.
In the new solar system as defined by the International Astronomical Union, meeting in Prague, there are eight planets instead of nine, at least three dwarf planets and tens of thousands of so-called smaller solar system bodies, like comets and most asteroids.
For now, the other dwarf planets are Ceres, the largest asteroid, and an object known as 2003 UB 313, nicknamed Xena, that is larger than Pluto and, like it, orbits beyond Neptune in a zone of icy debris known as the Kuiper Belt. But there are dozens more potential dwarf planets known in that zone, planetary scientists say, and so the number in the category could quickly swell.
In a nod to Plutos fans, the astronomers declared it to be the prototype for a new category of such trans-Neptunian objects, but declined in a close vote to approve the name plutonians for them.
The outcome yesterday completed a stunning turnaround from only a week ago, when the assembled astronomers were presented a proposal that would have increased the number of planets in the solar system to 12, retaining Pluto and adding Ceres, Xena and even Plutos moon Charon.
The reversal, said Dr. Alan P. Boss, a planetary theorist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, speaks to the integrity of the planet defining process.
The officers were willing to change their resolution, Dr. Boss said, and find something that would stand up...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Dwarfs will be out to protest this ruling...
"Solar System Shrinks - Smallest Planets Hardest Hit"
Does anyone know whether this body's vote will effect science textbooks, or what NASA recognizes as a planet?
Pluto was voted off the solar system...
Not to mention angry Plutonians.......imagine how they must feel losing planetary status.
Entitlements are really expected to last forever....aren't they???
I don't know about NASA, but all current textbooks are probably obsolete.
No, but it might affect them. ;->
or what NASA recognizes as a planet?
I don't see why NASA would need it's own classification system. It's a rock with a certain orbit, they don't care what you call it.
This means that NASA has visited ALL the planets, now.
What about the element Plutonium? Surely, it will go nuclear once it hears the news.
The news out of Pluto is that they refuse to leave the solar system and will remain in orbit as an "undocumented planet".
Pluto is exactly what it used to be. This is just the not too frequent deck chair shuffle.
Should there be more Pluto threads than there are planets? If so, there are already 250 extrasolar planets, none of which will be demoted to puny-body-not-even-dreaming-of-being-a-planet-some-day, so we need to increase our Pluto thread posting diligence.
NASA doesn't see planets but projects needing funding.
I guess astronomy isn't any different.
What I meant by my question is kind of along the lines of... every few months, some group releases a study showing that coffee is "bad" for you. Then a few months after that, another group says it is "good" for you. The conflicting studies are endless.
What is to keep another group from releasing a statement that Pluto *is* a planet? I suspect that is exactly what will occur, and most people will continue to refer to Pluto as the 9th planet.
I've always subscribed to theory that Pluto was a Neptune moon that somehow fell out of its orbit.
Since I discovered the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty I have known there are no planets or anything else out there except Celestial Bodies that may not be exploited for financial gain. Turns out the highest and best use of planets is astrology after all.
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