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Full Version: IAU kills Pluto
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The International Astronomical Union voted for a definition of a planet that deliberately excludes bodies like Pluto, Charon, and Ceres.

http://space.com/scienceastronomy/060824...ition.html

Let all join Mickey in mourning Pluto.
Eh. They won't change the popular conception of Pluto being a planet.
Oh well, if the Catholic church decided that Christopher wasn't a Saint any more, I guess the scientists can decide that Pluto isn't a planet.

It's semantics, definitions. It's a large-scale example of geography, where the old terms stick forever, even when they're patently wrong. Asia and Europe are one continent. Central America is just the tail of North America. There are not "seven seas." The largest of the "Great Lakes" is the single body of water, U-shaped, called Michigan-Huron. Certain "seas" are inland lakes or bays. "America" is not a single country, but a hemisphere.

Apparently this decision by a small group of astronomers is not the final word.
There has been agitation to demote Pluto from being a planet almost since it was discovered in 1930. Apparently they had to wait until the discoverer died. That was American astronomer Clyde William Tombaugh (February 4, 1906 – January 17, 1997). He always resisted efforts to demote Pluto from being a planet in the past. He liked being able to claim he was the only living astronomer to have discovered a new planet, and he was pretty well liked and respected. But in the back of their minds, the great majority of astronomers always knew that sooner or later reason would have to prevail.
Quote:There has been agitation to demote Pluto from being a planet almost since it was discovered in 1930. Apparently they had to wait until the discoverer died.

...not really, imo. The driving force was the discovery of other Pluto-like objects. They either had to accept them as planets too --- and there would be many more found, now that the hunt is on --- or demote Pluto.

I sense a parallel to the issue of species in biology --- a total mess since the definitions are arbitrary but people insist on classifications and attempt to make them appear scientific....

And why not simply let the people of Pluto vote?
I think mv is right. They know there are probably thousands of objects like pluto soon to be discovered. No one wants to remember the names of thousands of planets. So they'll label them a name and declare they are less important. A planet under their definition is what will keep much of the focus of study.
MV asked: "And why not simply let the people of Pluto vote?"

That would make science a plutocracy.
Ron Lambert Wrote:MV asked: "And why not simply let the people of Pluto vote?"

That would make science a plutocracy.

ROFLMAO.

(I think this is the best comeback I've seen anywhere for a while! S2 )
Since we now know more about the Kuiper Belt, and have had a chance of studying it more, we have discovered many planetoids there, and at least one or more, that are bigger than Pluto. I suspect that with the passage of time, many more objects will be found. And it would not surprise me if one or more actually approached the size of twice that of Pluto.

Kuiper Belt Objects
Political implications:

Quote:George W. Bush has now managed to lose one-ninth of the solar system. There's truth in that remark; the Pluto debacle does reveal the president's failings.

The scientific community long ago decided that Bush's mulish clinging to Pluto's status was a disaster based on cherry-picked intelligence....

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In the end, Pluto is a warning, a cautionary tale. Many things we believe may turn out not to be so, after all.

Except for man-made global warming. Only an idiot doubts that one.

Source
Pluto is Now Just a Number: 134340

First envirofascists, then islamofascists, now astronofascists....or is it astrofascists?

S4
Pity the small thing is gone, but essential is they made a decision in such a matter of life and death. Who needs Pluto anyway, some 200 extrasolar planets have already been found. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extrasolar_planet
it is not over until it is over....

Pluto takes Illinois; screams :lol:
Whoa!

Somewhat spaced out folks in Illinois!

S1
Is there an Obama connection here?

Obama will sign a pledge to "restore scientific integrity in governmental decision making."

Obama is working hard to reestablish Pluto kingdom on Earth. :lol: