Wednesday, August 16, 2006

In Planet Definition Battle, Pro-Pluto Faction Wins

All other important questions about the universe answered, the International Astronomical Union is meeting today in Prague to define planet, and it has decided to not only include underdog planetoid Pluto in that definition but also add three new planets, none of which are really what one would think of as a planet:
Among the chosen few within the solar system would be not only Pluto, whose status has been challenged in recent years, but also Ceres, the largest asteroid; 2003 UB313, nicknamed Xena, an object discovered by Dr. Brown in 2005 orbiting far beyond Pluto in the outer solar system; and even Pluto’s largest moon, Charon.

In addition, at least a dozen more solar system objects are waiting in the wings for more data to see if they fit the new definition of planethood, which is that an object be massive enough that gravity has formed it into a sphere and that it circles a star and not some other planet.
Link. In Roman mythology, Ceres was the goddess of agriculture. In Greek mythology, Charon was the ferryman granting passage into the underworld. And in syndication, Xena was a warrior princess. My very educated mother carefully just served us nine pizza-calzones, Xavier.

Indexed by tags science, astronomy, planet, Pluto, Ceres, Charon, Xena, International Astronomical Union.
Image credits: Pluto, courtesy Disney Archives, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.


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