Pluto may finally lose planetary status….

….but we should have better views of the moon landing.

The International Astronomical Union intends to finally settle the status of Pluto. Long an oddball in the planetary family, the discovery of 2003 UB312– “Xena“– forced the issue of whether to increase the official number of planets in the solar system, or demote Pluto to mere “Kuiper Belt Object” status. Further information may be found here.

In other local news, NASA searches for images of the moon landing that are much clearer than those broadcast at the time.

8 replies on “Pluto may finally lose planetary status….”

  1. chad says:

    NPR has a different take
    They interviewed some of the panel members and came to the conclusion that Pluto will remain a planet.

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    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: NPR has a different take

      They interviewed some of the panel members and came to the conclusion that Pluto will remain a planet.

      That idea has been kicked around before. If they go that route, I recommend that strangely cartoony word (though I know it is used to describe large asteroids) "planetoid."

      • chad says:

        Re: NPR has a different take

        That idea has been kicked around before. If they go that route, I recommend that strangely cartoony word (though I know it is used to describe large asteroids) "planetoid."

        The article did say that there may be up to three different classifications of planets, although "planetoid" (neat word) was not mentioned.

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        • Timeshredder says:

          Or some other mickey mouse term
          No, I suspect it’ll be "dwarf planet" or "minor planet" or something like that.

  2. fsphil says:

    Forget planet X…
    It’s an ex-planet!

    *hangs head in shame*

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: Forget planet X…
      It’s looking like we may have dozens of minor planets by definition– certainly, if the proposed definition is accepted, Pluto, Charon, Ceres, and "Xena" are all in.

      They name "plutons" has been added to the salad of suggestions, too.

      • fsphil says:

        Re: Forget planet X…

        It’s looking like we may have dozens of minor planets by definition– certainly, if the proposed definition is accepted, Pluto, Charon, Ceres, and "Xena" are all in.

        They name "plutons" has been added to the salad of suggestions, too.

        What’s interesting is that Ceres used to be considered a planet before the other asteroids where discovered. It’s nice to see it reclaim the title. And it makes NASA’s Dawn mission just that bit more important.

        • Timeshredder says:

          I may, of course, have the headline backwards
          Pluto at present looks like it might retain its status, while NASA’s still looking for that danged footage.

          The definition has changed before. Originally, the moon and the sun were planets, but the earth wasn’t. Of course, then we discovered "science."

          But, leave us face it: if it weren’t for the publicity given this issue, letter-writing campaigns by kiddies, and the fact that Pluto is the only "planet" with an American discoverer, there likely wouldn’t be a debate. We’d have eight planets and Pluto would be redesignated "one of the larger objects in the Kuiper Belt."

          And, except for dictionaries and trivia games, it doesn’t much matter whether the new definition includes all orbital objects large enough to be round or just the really large ones. Science should be objective, but definitions can be slippery.

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