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NEWSFLASH: Pluto NOT a planet

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Wide White: NEWSFLASH: Pluto NOT a planet

Thursday, August 24, 2006

NEWSFLASH: Pluto NOT a planet

It's true.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) -- 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.
Much-maligned Pluto doesn't make the grade under the new rules for a planet: "a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."
This was a long time coming, really. What I found to be rather hilarious was how serious these astronomers are about this stuff.
The decision on Pluto at a conference of 2,500 astronomers from 75 countries was a dramatic shift from just a week ago, when the group's leaders floated a proposal that would have reaffirmed Pluto's planetary status and made planets of its largest moon and two other objects.

That plan proved highly unpopular, splitting astronomers into factions and triggering days of sometimes combative debate that led to Pluto's undoing. In the end, only about 300 astronomers cast ballots.
"Splitting astronomers into factions" along with "combative debate." I'd have loved to have watched that!


Blogger Brandy Dopkins declared,

I've been paying attention to this (I know, nerd alert) and was interested to find out if they would go with 8 planets or 12. Either way my 9 planet solar model poster will now be cool, like an 8 track tape. Science geeks the world over will have something "old skool" to brag about.

Too bad for the California school system, they jumped ahead on the 12 planet textbooks for 2007-2008.

8/24/2006 4:53 PM  

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