Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto is No More

No, not that Pluto. The planet. However, it's not a planet any more. The International Astronomical Union has deigned that dear Pluto no longer qualifies as a planet, but is now considered a "dwarf planet." Poor little Pluto. He's no longer good enough.

According to their criteria, a planet is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.

Hell, that could apply to Dick Cheney.

I'm sure there will be a large outcry over the fact that we no longer have nine planets, but, frankly, I welcome the IAU's decision. Any time scientific reasoning trumps emotional sentimentality is a good thing in my opinion.

I'm sure Galileo would concur.


At 8:43 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

Yes, but if they had to get rid of a planet, couldn't it have been Uranus? Pluto doesn't make school kids snicker.

At 9:06 PM , Blogger Jon said...

No, because: (snicker)
Uranus is way too big.
Uranus sits in the orbital plane.
Uranus has enough gravity to keep its gaseous atmosphere around it.

Snicker, snicker . . .

Okay, I'll stop.


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