Aug 22, 2006

you say planet, I say planetoid: part II

The define-a-planet-once-and-for-all conference mentioned earlier is starting to reach a consensus. Things don't look so good for Pluto.
After a day of public bickering in Prague, followed by negotiations behind closed doors, the latest draft resolution was greeted with a broadly friendly reception.

If accepted on Thursday, it would be bad news for Pluto, which would no longer be a full-fledged planet.

The crucial change in "draft c" is that a planet must be the dominant body in its orbital zone, clearing out any little neighbours. Pluto does not qualify because its orbit crosses that of the vastly larger Neptune.

The planet definition committee is also stepping back from trying to define all planets in the universe, and sticking to our solar system – a slightly easier task.

It is still a work in progress, however, and the wording will change by Thursday in part to simplify it and make the final result more palatable to the public.
My first impression: "The Eight Planets and Pluto" isn't as bad, say, as "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim."

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