Tuesday, March 02, 2010

One day we will take Pluto back...

Don't let anyone tell you that Pluto is not a planet. Yes, we are just waiting for the right moment. And then one day we will have a re-vote over Pluto at one of the annual International Astronomical Union (IAU) meetings - and hopefully, a group of about 600 members present will reverse the earlier decision and restore Pluto's planetary status for all of humanity. Plus, we have Jon Stewart on our side. Here is his interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson:
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Two more quick items. Here is a post by Starts with a Bang about the 80th anniversary of the discovery of Pluto, just two weeks ago (Feb 18th).

You may have seen this one before, but it is still funny: Astronomers declare February no longer a month:
Emboldened by their success in declaring Pluto not a planet, the International Astronomical Union determined this week by a close vote that February is too short to be considered a true month. It has, however, been granted the newly created status of "dwarf month." It shares this dubious distinction with several other calendar time spans, including Labor Day Weekend, Christmas Vacation, and the Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You Actually Did.

"It only seems fair," said IAU President Ron Eckers. "February reaches a peak size of 29 days, averaging only 28 days for 75 percent of the time. Recent research has shown that other periods, such as the Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You Actually Did, often exceed this meager time frame. In fact, this erratic behavior only strengthens our case that February does not belong in the same classification as the eleven 'true' months."

Eckers also warned that the crop of 30-day "so-called" months should be careful to maintain their number of days. "They're already cutting it pretty close in my book."

Written by Michael Haber.


Atif Khan said...

Can you please check the video. It doesnt seem to play.

Salman Hameed said...


It may not be playable outside of US. Sorry :(

Laurel Kornfeld said...

Pluto is still a planet, and the ultimate decision on this may not be up to the IAU. The IAU has 10,000 members, but only 424 voted on the controversial demotion, most of whom are not planetary scientists. The IAU allows no absentee voting, so anyone not present on the last day of the two-week 2006 conference had no say in the matter. Their decision was immediately rejected by hundreds of professional astronomers in a formal petition led by New Horizons Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern. The IAU compounded their blunder by adamantly refusing to reopen discussion on this issue at its 2009 General Assembly in spite of requests by many astronomers to revisit the issue.

Find out more about efforts to reinstate Pluto at my Pluto Blog, http://laurele.livejournal.com

If the IAU admits this issue needs revisiting, I hope more than 600 members take part, and that electronic voting is allowed for those who cannot be there in person. However, many planetary scientists are not members of the IAU at all. Shouldn't they have a say in the matter? Ultimately, the issue is who decides?

Atif Khan said...

On this, I agree with Tyson as he has some rational reasons for this demotion. His paper/essay "Pluto files" is an interesting read.

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