24 August 2006

Pluto Demoted

According to the CNN Article, the International Astronomical Union has squashed the earlier proposal from its leaders to upgrade Charon, Ceres, and Xena to planets and instead decided to downgrade Pluto.

Hooray, that's the side of the fence that I'm on! I don't usually pick the winners for things such as this.

The clause they added to the definition of a planet that disqualifies Pluto is this:
"A celestial body that has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

That is what I have been saying all along. Yes, I know it's a rather ambiguous clause, and doubtless there may be problems in the future. What happens if Mars is smacked by a large asteroid and the collision ejects a large stream of debris in Mars's orbit? Does Mars cease to be a planet until the debris is accumulated back to the remaining core?

Anyway, it's nice to have that settled.

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