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Legislator wants Pluto's planethood restored

Joined
Nov 18, 2006
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Gloucester, Earth 34
#1
The state of New Mexico could effectively secede from the astronomical community if a resolution to call Pluto a planet is passed.

Joint House Memorial 54 was introduced by representative Joni Marie Gutierrez, who represents Dona Ana County. It states that Pluto, the recently demoted object, "be declared a planet and that March 13, 2007 be declared 'Pluto Planet Day' at the legislature."

Pluto was stripped of its planet status last August when a group within the International Astronomical Union voted to call the diminutive, far-flung world a dwarf planet. The decision was immediately and widely criticized by astronomers, many of whom have said it might not stand over time.

More at Legislator wants Pluto's planethood restored - Space.com - MSNBC.com
 
Joined
May 9, 2006
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13,883
#3
*sigh* While I really wish they hadn't "demoted" Pluto, I have extreme distaste for this on several levels. For one, it smacks of a publicity stunt -- it's sheer fluff with no sort of import or impact whatsoever. It's a waste of taxpayer money and "Jerry Springer" style politicking.

For another -- if such a silly thing were put in place, and others follow suit... that's just what we need to make things even more difficult at a time when people already have their heads filled with mush enough to not understand the first thing about science. It's another example of "If I don't agree with it, it isn't real science" -- which is, quite frankly, large-scale b.s. If you think the demotion of Pluto is going to make anything difficult with teaching, wait until you see the fallout from that trend!

And it's degrading to the entire issue, as well. This wasn't something done lightly -- which is why it took so long to get any sort of consensus on this one; I don't think anyone wanted to remove Pluto from the roll of planets but, with our increasing knowledge of bodies within the solar system, it simply didn't make sense to keep it there. And it's not the first time we've had a "planet" that wasn't a planet... though it's never lasted this long. "Vulcan" was actually reported by several reputable astronomers many times over, and touted as truly existing... until further observations revealed that what was seen was something quite different, and inaccurate (though well-intentioned) observation that near the sun's corona was responsible for the mistake.

I'm sorry, but I cannot see this as anything but a cheapjack stunt or stick, stone stupid -- one of the two....:(
 

matt-browne-sfw

Matt Browne SFW
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
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147
#5
Oh my goodness! Do people really have nothing better to do with thier time and money than to continue discussions on this? (I don't mean us of course)
I couldn't agree more. A dwarf planet is a special kind of planet. The term is a compound noun and the second word is in fact "planet".

What really puzzles me is this resistance to change. Our view of the world is constantly changing. In the past everything smaller than the Sun and the Moon was called a star. Then people realised that some starts were moving. Others remained in a fixed position. Only later did we realise that even stars move and do orbit the center of the galaxy. Now we know a lot more about the worlds beyond Neptune.

Yet there's a history of resistance. Look at what was done to Galileo. Einstein was called stupid in 1905 by many renowned physicists.

Now it's some folks in New Mexico that resist change. Actually, I thought the people in Kansas are more angry about "their" pluto being downgraded to dwarf planet.

In my opinion we should not pay too much attention to it. In 50 years everyone will feel comfortable about dwarf planets. Or maybe the taxonomy will change yet again. More new evidence. More insights. There might be many more bodies larger than Pluto. Eris is just the start. But Pluto will always be special to us. It's a Kuiper Belt Object that is relatively close to us. It's okay to love Pluto as our special friend whether it's a planet or a dwarf planet...
 

Vladd67

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#7
I was watching a YouTube video with my sons, 5 and 2, and I must admit I did a double take when it announced there were eight planets in the Solar system.
 

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