August 24th, 2006

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Alas, poor Pluto...

Pluto is not a planet!

Not anymore, anyway.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/08/24/pluto.ap/index.html

The Solar System has but eight planets. ...and just last week they were about to declare that we had 12! But nope. The short story: Instead of calling Pluto, Charon, Ceres and Xena full-fledged planets, they now fall into the new category of "dwarf planets". Pluto is no longer a planet because it has not "cleared the neighborhood around its orbit" i.e., its orbit intersects that of Neptune.

uhhh... but wouldn't that make Neptune not a planet either? I'm not sure how that works. But anyway, they made it official today. We have only eight planets. And years of sci-fi stories just got messed up!