Kids, Pluto is No Longer a Planet
SPACE.com reported today that after years of often 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. Already the decision is being hotly debated.
So now, officially, Pluto is no longer a planet.
Astronomers have been debating for years about whether to demote Pluto, and public support in favor of Pluto has weighed heavily on the debate. Today's vote came after a two-year effort by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to develop a definition.
Astronomers at the IAU meeting were said to have debated the proposals right up to the moment of the actual vote.
The decision establishes three main categories of objects in our solar system.
- Planets: The eight worlds from Mercury to Neptune.
- Dwarf Planets: Pluto and any other round object that "has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit, and is not a satellite."
- Small Solar System Bodies: All other objects orbiting the Sun.
So it looks like Pluto will be known as a dwarf planet or something to that effect. And classroom teachers will be instructing students to ignore their textbooks: "No, Billy, it's eight planets, not nine. And there will be a test on this tomorrow."
So goes the evolution of the science of astronomy. Check your local news at 6:00 PM for any updates.
So our changing lexidiem is planet.