Pluto no longer running with the big dogs

Status change. Pluto is now considered a “dwarf planet” (part of a new class of objects).Pluto What I learned in school – wrong. Dang.

How did that happen?
Long story short. A bunch of experts met. A small percentage voted. Planets have a new definition. Pluto didn’t make the cut.

Long story longer. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) meeting was held this week in Prague. As Ray Suarez so succinctly put it during a News Hour interview on Thursday:

A group of scientists essentially made the decision for the rest of humanity that Pluto’s not a planet.

When put like that, maybe more than a few hundred should have voted. Don’t you think? Read more from the transcript: Scientists Demote Pluto to ‘Dwarf Planet’

Why is Pluto no longer a planet?
‘Cuz the smart people say so. According to Nature.com:

In the end it was decided that to qualify as a planet in orbit around our Sun, a chunk of rock must have been made round by its own gravity; have cleared its neighbourhood of other debris; and not be a satellite of another planetary body.

This is what happens when you keep putting off the yard work. Read more from the article: Pluto loses planet status

But the debate must be over?
Of course not. Astronomers can be stubborn just like the rest of us and refuse to give up without a fight. BBC News reports:

But the lead scientist on Nasa’s robotic mission to Pluto has lambasted the ruling, calling it “embarrassing”. And the chair of the committee set up to oversee agreement on a definition implied that the vote had effectively been “hijacked”.

Got to love words like embarrassing, hijacked, and revolt. Read more of this story:
Pluto vote ‘hijacked’ in revolt

So, I am torn. Sad because Pluto is no longer a major player but excited over the passion scientists display when defending a point. Despite what others may think, geeks are definitely not boring.

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Posted in Geek, In my brain, Mind, Science. Comments Off on Pluto no longer running with the big dogs
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