Bye bye, planet Pluto


Generations of children, who have grown up over the past 76 years under the illusion that Pluto was the ninth planet of the solar system, will be wrong with retrospective effect.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has just met in Prague and demoted Pluto to the level of a dwarf planet on the grounds that despite orbiting the Sun, it neither has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a nearly round shape nor has it cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

After being ejected from the big league, Pluto will now join the asteroid Ceres — also a planet in the 19th century — and UB313, nicknamed Zena by its discoverer Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology.

While TV anchors all over the world, including the PYTs (Pretty Young Things) on Indian TV news-channels, have tried to cheer up the erstwhile planet by saying things like “We still love you Pluto”, the demotion goes against the grain of the latest trends in all non-planetary spheres where the norm is to keep adding to the number instead of subtracting!

Take the European Common Market that started off with just six member-states and now has more than quadrupled to suit its present nomenclature of the European Union (EU) to an extent where even Turkey is on the short-list for admission despite parts of that country lying in what has traditionally been regarded as Asia Minor.

Take the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which now includes nation-states that are so far away from the Atlantic that they were once part of the Soviet Union. Or take India’s reservation quota for jobs and admissions, which has doubled to almost 50% in just six decades of independence.

Fortunately, Pluto has not yet been demoted from its status of the household pet in Mickey Mouse comics where children can still identify with it!
Shock to the solar system
Demotion of Pluto surprises astronomers, students; many upset, others pleased
By RICK CLEMENSON, Staff writer
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First published: Friday, August 25, 2006
ALBANY -- Josh Laramie leaned over to educator Chris Persans during a presentation at the Henry Hudson Planetarium Thursday morning and asked the question that was on the minds of astronomers around the world.
Was Pluto still a planet?
Laramie, 9, was shocked to learn the celestial body had, in fact, been demoted by the International Astronomical Union.
Pluto is no longer a planet. It's a dwarf.
The boy and millions of other astronomy buffs around the world fully expected astronomy's governing body to add planets, not downsize the number.
The IAU had entertained thoughts of reaffirming Pluto's planethood and adding three new planets.
The decision came down while Laramie and other campers from the Carroll Dunigan KIDZ Camp were learning about the solar system at the planetarium.
"What? Why would they do that?," said Laramie.
Reaction was swift and varying among astronomers and scholars around the region as word got out about the IAU's judgment.
"It's an irresponsible decision," said Steve Russo, planetarium manager of the Suits-Bueche Planetarium in Schenectady. "This vote is a farce."
Russo is upset that only 5 percent of the world's astronomers were allowed to vote on whether to keep Pluto as a planet. He's also miffed at the IAU's reasoning that planets do not enter the orbit of other planets.
Pluto drifts into Neptune's orbit every 230 years or so, according to Russo. But Pluto does have three moons, which by the IAU's definition, means it should be classified as a planet, he said.
Astronomers around the world are similarly upset and petitions are already circulating to recall the vote, according to Russo.
Doctor Richard Thompson, the dean of math and sciences at the College of Saint Rose, was pleased by the decision.
"This needed to be done for a long time," he said.
Pluto gained a measure of sentimentality when the public was allowed to name the newly discovered planet in 1930, but Thompson said Pluto "never really fit in" with the other planets.
"It was an oddball. I think they did a good thing cleaning up the classifications," he said.
Thompson said Pluto will retain its name, but will most likely be reclassified as a dwarf planet.
Carolyn Margolis, education coordinator at the Henry Hudson Planetarium, was concerned about how to alter her presentations to schoolchildren.
She uses a plastic model or mobile to show children where the planets sit in relation to each other. She will have to explain that the ninth and furthest orb from the sun is no longer a planet.
The planetarium's gift shop will serve as a constant reminder of what was. Stockings, cards, coloring books and movies like "Friendly Stars" include Pluto among the solar system's planets.
On Thursday, Margolis was nostalgic but realistic.
She admitted being a bit depressed by the decision, but noted that new planets, stars, Milky Ways and black holes will soon be discovered. "Stay tuned. The story's not over."
Rick Clemenson can be reached at 454-5030.
What's a Planet?
The IAU's new definition of a planet is that it must:
-- Orbit the Sun -- Be large enough to assume a nearly round shape -- Have cleared other things out of the way in its orbital neighborhood. This knocks out Pluto.

Astronomers to Vote on Planet Definition


PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) - It's a cosmic clash, a space squabble, a mutiny in the Milky Way.
Leading astronomers are bitterly divided over new galactic guidelines that for the first time would define what is and isn't a planet. The debate all but dooms a proposal being put to a vote Thursday to expand the solar system to 12 planets from the traditional nine.
Caught yet again in the crossfire is puny Pluto, scorned by many as a poser that could be demoted as a dwarf - slightly shrinking Earth's neighborhood instead.
Opponents "smell blood, and I think they're going to get it," Alan Boss, an astrophysicist at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., said on the eve of a vote by members of the International Astronomical Union.
Leaders of the group, the official arbiter of heavenly bodies, caused a sensation last week by proposing that Pluto's largest moon and two other objects officially be designated as planets. They suggested that Pluto and the three newcomers be the first of a new class of planet dubbed "plutons."
The rationale was their initial draft definition of a planet: any object larger than nearly 500 miles in diameter that orbits the sun, has a mass roughly one-12,000th that of Earth and has enough self-gravity to pull itself into a round shape.
But for many of the 2,500 astronomers from 75 countries meeting in Prague, the universe hasn't been the same since.
After days of spirited and sometimes combative debate, renegade scientists have won some key concessions.
A planet, they insist, must be the dominant object in its area. That would draw a sharp distinction between the eight "classical planets" - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune - and Pluto, which would be known as a "dwarf planet."
Pluto's largest moon, Charon; the asteroid Ceres, which was a planet in the 1800s before it got demoted; and a recently discovered object known as 2003 UB313 and nicknamed Xena; also would be dwarfs.
The precise wording of the definition remained a work in progress Wednesday. However, if astronomers agree that a planet must have "orbital dominance" in its own neighborhood, the new guidelines would eliminate Pluto and the trio of tentative candidates as proper planets.
"It's a kind of compromise: There would be only eight planets, plus the dwarf planets," said Japanese astronomer Junichi Watanabe, a member of the IAU's planet definition committee.
Many believe there's simply no scientific justification to grant full planet status to most of what's floating in the vast sea of rocks that reside in the Kuiper Belt - a mysterious, disc-shaped zone beyond Neptune containing thousands of comets and planetary objects.
"It's impossible to draw the line between the new dwarf planets and large asteroids," said Mark Bailey, director of Britain's Armagh Observatory.
And forget the term "pluton" - it's already history.
Under pressure from a growing faction of astronomers, the planet definers have been tossing around other options: plutoids, plutonids, plutonoids, plutians, or Tombaugh objects or planets in honor of Clyde Tombaugh, the American who discovered Pluto in 1930.
Among the scientists who torpedoed "pluton" were geologists, who pointed out - somewhat embarrassingly to astronomers - that it's already a prominent term in volcano science for deep igneous rock formations.
"What were they thinking? The reaction in the geologic community was rolling of eyes," said Allen F. Glazner, a geologist at the University of North Carolina. "It would be like botanists trying to distinguish between trees and shrubs and coming up with the term 'animal.'"
Harvard's Owen Gingerich, who chairs the planet definition panel, conceded: "We perhaps stumbled."
After the panel got dozens of objecting e-mails, "we backed off," he added.
Suddenly, the future looks dim for much-maligned Pluto, which is smaller than Earth's moon.
Its underdog status has inspired scores of tributes, including one by New York folk singer Christine Lavin that laments: "I guess if Pluto showed up at a planet convention, the bouncer at the door might have to ban it."
"Some say, 'No, Pluto is a nice planet'" and should remain one, Watanabe said. "It's an important object that has played an important role," he said. "But this is a natural way to draw a line."
Bai jai short vich................. bye bye pluto :bye
aa chak ominous 22 short wich
Pluto kicked out of planet clubPrague, Czech Republic24 August 2006 04:15

Pluto on Thursday lost its seven-decade status as the ninth and outermost planet of the solar system, the world's top astronomical body decided.

The decision was made at an assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

"The eight planets are Mercury, Earth, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune," said the IAU resolution, passed in a raised-hands vote after what, by the discreet standards of the astronomical community, was a stormy debate.

Pluto has now been redefined as a "dwarf planet".


dekha iss duniya mein hameshan barri machhli chhoti machhli ko kha jaati hai :D
pluto naal hamdardi jehi keran da dil ker riha :( :p


~*~ NiMaNa ~*~
changa bai pluto... bohat dukhi kita sanu.... tere karke bare chittar khade ne school ch... tera naam yaad ni rehda c madam kutdi c...:cry
chal changa hoya aape chala geya nahi mainu himat karni peni c