Planet defined – now there are eight

The votes are in and the community has spoken – Pluto is not a planet. Clifford explains all at his new blog, Asymptotia. At the end of the day, it looks like the IAU have a pretty good democratic process in place.
There was much wailing on our local radio station this morning – textbooks to be rewritten! Confusion in high school science class! How will the kids digest this new and confusing information? I suspect that they’ll take it in their stride. It’s not difficult – eight, not nine. That’s science – it’s not static, ideas change with new information. Science teachers should see this as a great opportunity to discuss the nature of science, but I suppose most school science is more concerned with rote learning of facts just like “how many planets”.

6 thoughts on “Planet defined – now there are eight

  1. Pingback: Spinach Blogging - Asymptotia

  2. Rick

    Uhm… wasn’t it already established that pluto was/is a dog?
    (sorry, just had to take a shot at it…)

    Anyhow, I find this interesting and almost a natural thing to happen. Things get discovered everyday and sometimes things we thought were right, come short.
    I’m reading a great book that talks about scientific discoveries over the centuries and time after time things got turned over and over. So, it’s just that time now. Bye bye Pluto… who knows if next year we have a new planet and then we’re back to number nine again :)

  3. chris

    The beeb has a followup story, where there is much gnashing of teeth at the alleged hijack of the vote by dynamicists. The figures are somewhat startling, with accusations that the vote was deliberately scheduled on the last day of the meeting when many people had left, so that only 4% of delegates wound up voting.

    Ah, politics of academia…

  4. nsaunders Post author

    so that only 4% of delegates wound up voting

    Mmm, OK, so much for the democratic process. Still, I think the consensus was definitely against “plutons” earlier in the week. Besides, it’s ultimately the right decision IMHO :)

  5. Deepak

    It’s strange isn’t it when science gets politicized.

    I definitely prefer the “pluto is not a planet” vote. More elegant, and a question I remember asking my dad many years ago. I was amazed with how confusing the whole pluton concept was. Talking about confusing kids.

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