IAU Snobbery

Dwarf Planets Are Planets Too: Get Involved!, Alan Stern, Sky and Telescope

"Classification is an important and productive scientific tool that is employed in many branches of science, from biology to geology to chemistry and astronomy."

No Peace Over Pluto, MSNBC

"The latest round in the planethood debate may well provoke planetary scientists into a revolt against the international body that usually has the last word on astronomical terminology, according to the top scientist for NASAs mission to Pluto."

"Plutoids": the new name for Pluto-like dwarf planets, PhysicsWorld

"Catherine Cesarsky, president of the IAU, dismisses such past protests. "They form a very small part of the astronomy community," she told physicsworld.com. She added that "practically nobody" is now trying to get Pluto reclassified as a planet. ... Cesarsky admits that she has not yet heard the response from the astronomy committee for the rebranding. "I don't think there will be a big [reaction]," she says. "A few people make a lot of noise."

Editor's note: OK, perhaps Catherine needs some feedback on all of this from the 99.999% of humanity who had no say in all of this - people who are now being told that what they learned in school is now wrong - based upon esoteric, and hard to understand reasons. Well, you can tell her what you think. You can find out how to contact her by email or telephone here at the official IAU website. You can also contact the IAU directly at iau@iap.fr.

Editor's update: Some prominent planetary scientists have been joining in on this discussion ... "The argument that classifying round KBOs as planets will lead to there being "too many planets" is not in any way scientific. If our solar system has 200 planets, then that is what it has. It was not designed for our convenience." ... "It may be little and not dynamically important, but Ceres has physical properties that are far more analogous to other planets like Mars than the inert, irregular asteroids. From a geophysical perspective it makes sense to categorize Ceres as a planet."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 28, 2008 10:01 AM.

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