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Space & Planetary Science

IAU Planet Definition Under Attack

By Keith Cowing
August 30, 2006

Diary of a planet’s demise, Nature (subscription)

“I am just disgusted by the way the IAU, which is meant to represent the best in science, handled this matter,” says Alan Stern … “We do not classify objects in astronomy by what they are near,” he says. “We classify them by their properties.”

Editor’s note: NASA Watch has learned that the words attributed to Mark Sykes in this article are not accurate and that a correction by Nature has been requested. However Nature may have misquoted him, Sykes tells NASA Watch “I think the IAU definition is fundamentally flawed. I think a better definition can be easily obtained, getting a community consensus will require a thoughtful process that is far more inclusive and open than the IAU process was.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.