Planet debate rumbles on

Claims by astronomers that they don’t really care about the “is Pluto a planet” question would seem to be untrue, judging by this report on the IAU debate.

“He was cut off when he tried to read his proposal aloud. When more questions were prevented, there was a cry of: ‘If there is democracy, listen to the questions. Let the people speak!'”

The good news is that common sense seems to be prevailing, with a new draft resolution stating the case for eight planets. Now they just have to decide what to call Pluto. Nobody likes “plutons”, least of geologists who use the term already. Via John Hawks, an amusing account of how astronomers failed to recognise this fact:

“Since the term is not in the MS Word or the WordPerfect spell checkers, we thought it was not that common.”

Oh dear.