24 August 2006

Pluto not a planet anymore?!

I'm tempted yet again to put WTF?! in the title of my blog entry.

What kind of name is USB313? Why in the world would you call something that kids are going to have to learn in first and second grade a name with a subscript? Given the enormous stress that teachers are already under, why would you force them to also teach kids typesetting and fonts at such an early age?

The new definition of 'planet' says that, in order to be a planet, the thing must have cleared its orbit of other objects. Since Pluto crosses Neptune's orbit, and Neptune hasn't cleared Pluto from Neptune's orbit, does that mean that Neptune isn't a planet either?

This also means that we're never going to have a super-cool planetary collision when Neptune and Pluto's orbits finally bring them into contact with each other. Planetary/dwarf planetary collision just doesn't sound super-cool.

And who's going to pay for all the poor school systems to update their planetary charts? Is the new standard of how current your science textbooks are going to be how many planets are listed? Will this be the subject of news stories discussing how woefully out-of-date a school's textbooks are? And what about all those stores selling orreries? Are they going to have massive fire sales to clear their shops of outdated solar system models? Did the IAU even THINK about the shopkeepers? This is an outrage, I'm telling you!

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