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Pluto likely headed for demotion
2006-08-23 07:30
by Bob Timmermann

Pluto's planetary status looks to be headed the way of Andy Hawkins and Harvey Haddix's no-hitters. The International Astronomical Union appears to be changing its mind about keeping Pluto as a planet as well as promoting Ceres, Charon, and UB313 2003 ("Xena") to planetary status.

The new consensus, according to this New York Times report, is that Pluto would be classified as a "dwarf planet" and lumped in with "smaller solar system bodies" such as asteroids and comets.

"Orbitary dominance" is the new watchword. The IAU believes a "planet" should be big enough to clear other objects out of its orbital path.

Pluto flunks this test as its orbit intersects Neptune's.

Billy Crystal has announced plans to make a movie called "Pluto*" and has already scouted locations in the Duane Kuiper Belt to shoot it.

2006-08-23 07:45:10
1.   DXMachina
Pluto couldn't buy this type of publicity.

Meanwhile, it seems like there are a whole lot of astronomers who really need to find some sort of hobby.

2006-08-23 07:47:36
2.   Bob Timmermann
Unlike me.
2006-08-23 07:54:11
3.   DXMachina
True. I don't see you mounting campaigns to have someone like, say, Russ Ortiz reclassified as something other than a pitcher.

Okay, bad example...

2006-08-23 08:19:01
4.   Greg Brock
2006-08-23 08:23:29
5.   kylepetterson
"would be classified as a "dwarf planet" and lumped in with "smaller solar system bodies" such as asteroids and comets."

That happened to my little brother in grade school but then, in high school, he grew over 6 inches in 8 months and had to be reclassified.

2006-08-23 08:38:26
6.   Greg Brock
I just knew my letter writing campaign would pay off.

Mark one for the little guy...against the little guy.

2006-08-23 08:46:53
7.   Ken Arneson
Does Pluto have to clear waivers before it can be sent down?
2006-08-23 08:53:06
8.   dianagramr
Is Sidney Ponson considered a satellite or a planet?
2006-08-23 09:00:21
9.   Bob Timmermann
Yeah, I was a planet. I was a planet for 76 years once - the 76 greatest years of my existence. You know, you never handle your own satellites as a planet, your gravitational pull does that. It was great. You get white comets flying past, the observatories are like cathedrals, the space craft all have room service, and the aliens all have long legs and brains.
2006-08-23 09:20:25
10.   dianagramr
9 ... there's a "circle Uranus" joke in there somewhere ...
2006-08-23 11:38:35
11.   Chyll Will
Is cyberspace a dimension or a universe? For that matter, can a universe be a universe if it has an alternate?
2006-08-23 15:49:45
12.   Greg Brock
9 Yeah, but I have a quadrophonic Blaupunkt

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