PLUTO EVICTED: No Longer
By: Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
Posted: 24 August, 2006
09:35 am ET
Capping years of intense debate, astronomers resolved today to demote Pluto in a wholesale redefinition of planethood that is being billed as a victory of scientific reasoning over historic and cultural influences. But already the decision is being hotly debated.
Officially, Pluto is no longer a planet.
“Pluto is dead,” said Caltech researcher Mike Brown, who spoke with reporters via a teleconference while monitoring the vote. The decision also means a Pluto-sized object that Brown discovered will not be called a planet.
“Pluto is not a planet,” Brown said. “There are finally, officially, eight planets in the solar system.”
The vote involved just 424 astronomers who remained for the last day of a meeting of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Prague.
“I’m embarassed for astornomy,” said Alan Stern, leader of NASA’s New Horizon’s mission to Pluto and a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute. “Less than 5 percent of the world’s astronomers voted.”
“This definition stinks, for technical reasons,” Stern told SPACE.com. He expects the astronomy community to overturn the decision. Other astronomers criticized the definition as ambiguous.
Am I the only EARTH BEING feeling GAMMA-ED here? I mean, what gives? It seems to me if we can get rid of a planet, we can get rid of a Stern (which in German means “star”) Stars are more “out of it” than planets, right? And yes, there is a Dr. Alan Stern who actually is in charge of NASA’s “New Horizons Mission” to Pluto. (Click the link in the date at the top of the Space.Com news release). Talk about “in the stars,” WoW. Read on with my letter to my new bud…
23 March, 2007
Mr. Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
DELIVERED VIA TELEPORTATION
Re: Eviction of Pluto
My Dear Rob Roy:
Jeepers, has it really been since August of last year? My bad for not taking pen to hand sooner, but I have been consumed in a black hole of projects to astronomical proportions as well. Anyhow, I cannot tell you how distraught I’ve been ever since your press release regarding the above collided with my in-box.
I am postulating that in as you are nearer this plane than I, any assistance you can render Dr. Stern; NASA’s Director of The New Horizons Mission in returning our Pluto to orbit would be greatly appreciated. I mean, after all, Pluto has been in heaven since zip-did-dee-doo-dah, and I needn’t remind you; “It’s Better in the Blogosphere.” Also, please note I maintain considerable schway with our colleagues in the Bahamas, and if necessary, believe we can effect a more than equitable trade, as we are quite done with our Old Horizons Mission. Just a thought.
Thanking you for your indulgence, and with apologies for the presumption, I trust you will, make it so. As may always,
The Force be with you,
“Everybody Is Up To Something” sm