Pluto Demoted. Immediately Files Grievance. - or - Horoscopes The World Over Are Wrong! ... Still!
For a couple days last week I was pretty excited about the prospect of suddenly having 12 planets in our solar system. I was ready to welcome our newly adopted planetary brothers and sisters, Ceres, Charon, and the unnamed baby.
Preceeding this week's International Astronomical Union meeting in Europe, a subcommittee had made some recommendations that would have elevated to full planethood Pluto's moon Charon, producing a binary planet system, along with the asteroid Ceres and the still to be properly named 2003UB313, which originally was hailed as the tenth planet.
Well, now the IAU has done its work. Its evil, dirty work. It has finally, after thousands of years of skygazing, settled for us, on a proper definition of a planet.
And Pluto is out. Dwarf-something, Transneptunian has-been ball of ice just like the rest of 'em. And 2003UB313 is out too. Way out. It will get a name but likely not a planet's name.
This is really all Michael Brown's fault, anyway. He and his group discovered the iceball formerly known as the tenth planet a few years ago, and since the distant body was larger than Pluto, this whole question of what a planet actually is has simmered like a Jovian eye up until week's meeting.
Personally I would just kind of hate to be the guy who dispatched the 9th planet by discovering the 10th. This would be a great joke if Mike Brown's real first name was Charlie. And the IAU was Lucy. And the ball - well, you get the idea.
However, lo and behold Mike Brown is pretty OK with all of this. In fact he explains in quite a clear and convincing manner exactly why the final definition approved by the IAU is correct and proper, here.
In brighter news, it just became 11.11% easier to memorize all the planets.
Story at Bad Astronomy Blog