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August 24, 2006

The Planet Pluto: 1930 - 2006

Honk if Pluto is still a planet bumper sticker

Well, it's official. The International Astronomical Union has ruled that Pluto is not a planet. They rejected an alternative proposal that would have kept Pluto in the planet club and added several more bodies. (Here's a BBC story on the whole thing).

I'm of two minds about all of this. One the one hand, I like it that there are now standardized rigorous criteria for planet classification...this is SCIENCE after all. But on the other hand, I like the fact that human classification schemes are messy and inconsistent. (For instance, I love the fact that the length of the month is so variable, and that different cultures start their weeks on different days).

But if you're outraged by this decision, assuage your anger by picking up one (or more) of the "Honk if Pluto is still a planet" bumper stickers I just made. All proceeds donated to The Planetary Society.

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at August 24, 2006 08:23 AM


standardized rigorous criteria

There is nothing at all "standard" or "rigorous" about the new definition of planet that has been foisted on us by a small band of ideologues who represent a tiny portion of the membership of the IAU. This is a fraud, nothing more.

Posted by: Carl at August 26, 2006 10:11 AM

not to the planetary discrimination!

Posted by: Carlo at August 28, 2006 10:06 AM

Love your blog, Chris. And LOVE the bumper sticker. I ordered some for myself.

And I linked to you from the blog of the Earth & Sky radio series.

All best,
D. Byrd
Exec. Producer / Host
Earth & Sky

Posted by: Deborah Byrd at August 28, 2006 03:58 PM