Pluto: a planet or not?

Posted on Monday, Aug 14 2006 @ 00:57 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
This week about 3,000 astronomers and scientists will meet in Prague to decide whether Pluto, discovered in 1930, measures up to the definition of a planet.
In defining for the first time what exactly a planet is, the International Astronomers Union (IAU) may be forced to downgrade Pluto's status, or add as many as 14 others.

Such a decision would send shockwaves through the scientific community, instantly outdate textbooks, and cause educators to re-teach the basics of our solar system.

"The pivotal question is the status of Pluto, which is clearly very different from Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune," Owen Gingerich, professor of Astronomy and History of Science emeritus a the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told Reuters.

Debate has raged within the scientific community over the status of Pluto for decades after the planet was found to be only one four-hundredths of the mass of the earth.
More info at Reuters.


About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.



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