Wednesday, August 16, 2006

and then there were twelve... 

So there's been all sorts of discussion as of late regarding Pluto's place in the planetary scale of the galaxy, as in, "Is it really a planet? Or just a comet?" (Check out John Scalzi's Whatever for some serious Plutonian hub-bub, including a video in which a Pluto-Hayta gets his just desserts...)

Well, the International Astronomical Union has declared that, not only is Pluto still a planet, but under the new rules, we have another three planets to boot: Ceres, Charon and 2003 UB313. Previously Ceres was classified as an asteroid, Charon was considered a Plutonian satellite and 2003 UB313 (nicknamed Xena) apparently was just known as a far-out Pluto-sized object.

And yes, this is causing a hell of an uproar in the scientific community. Frankly, I'm surprised I'm not seeing rioting in the halls of JPL.

Maybe I should set a trashcan on fire. Just so folks realize what we're dealing with here...

NOTE: This was just a proposal put forth by the IAU - the actual vote by the IAU membership won't be until next week. I love this line from the Space.com article: "IAU members will vote on the proposal Thursday, Aug. 24. Its fate is far from clear." (emphasis mine)

That sounds pretty ominous. What'll happen if the proposal is voted down? Are we going to Death Star Pluto and the other bodies in question out of existence?

Maybe, once the vote comes down, then I'll see scorched overturned golfcarts throughout the lab.


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