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Pluto Is A Planet!

sdelmonte reports here that the International Astronomical Union plans to define the word "planet" in September. This may lead to the final resolution of Pluto's status, and I worry that they may decide to redefine Pluto as a non-planet. If they take away Pluto's status as a planet, I'm thinking of protesting over at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. I plan to carry a sign on a stick that says "Pluto IS a planet" and chant the following:

Pluto as a planet
Is here to stay!

Who wants to join me?


I'll join you in spirit, but my protest would have to be in Chicago as I won't be able to make it to Harvard.
"Let's burn down the observatory so this never happens again!"
You've heard Christine Lavin's Pluto song...?
I haven't, actually...tell me more!
I'm with you!

Of course, I don't look forward to having to remember the names of all the additional planets, but I can live with inclusionary astronomy.
And do they all get new symbols? I'd enjoy that.
I thought you were more of a purist than a traditionalist. What are your reasons?
More of a purist than a traditionalist? I'm curious how you got that impression. Was it something specific I said or did?

As far as Pluto is concerned, I am a traditionalist.
I'll march!

What's the date?

Not sure yet...
I will write a letter. I will not carry a placard.
How about "Ceres is also a planet!" and "Troublemakers for Vesta!"

After the Dawn mission visits Vesta (2011) and Ceres (2015), two of the three largest asteroids, I suspect that many people would be willing to consider these objects "planets". They're large enough to have become spherical due to the effects of gravity (although Vesta has a giant crater that kind of messes up the rounded appearance). Personally, if it were my decision, I'd say a planet is any object that (a) orbits a star, (b) does not sustain fusion, and (c) became spherical due to self-gravity.

But rabblerousing for the large rubble might not help Pluto's cause, since there seems to be astronomical opposition to reclassifying any of the largest asteroids as "planets".
Wasn't Ceres classified as a planet when it was first discovered? But then they demoted it within only a few years.

Pluto's been considered a planet for much longer. And it has a moon.
But if Pluto is not a planet, what will mother serve us nine of anymore? No more pies???
I learned it as pickles.
This just seems like an odd thing to protest over.

I liked Jordin Kare's comment in the late 90's: "Pluto's being allowed to stay on as a planet, but they're considering a resolution of censure."
If one grew up with the emotional attachment to the concept of Pluto as a planet, protesting over its removal from said list makes a lot of sense. Don't forget that when the Rose Center unilaterally removed Pluto from the list of planets at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, there was a minor uproar. They had to add a plaque explaining why they did what they did.

December 2016

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