Pluto has a long tail

Happy International Year of Astronomy, everyone! Here’s a great listen from Earth and Sky, one of the best audio shows from the USA that I remember back in the day when I lived in Austin.

Alan Stern: ‘A Chihuahua is still a dog, and Pluto is still a planet’

I’m old school enough to want Pluto to be a planet and here’s the convincing argument from Stern. His assessment is spot on. Kudos to Earth and Sky — the website is a model of Web 2.0 and good science.

world astronomy

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One Response to Pluto has a long tail

  1. This is a terrific interview. The IAU’s definition is not reasonable because it says dwarf planets aren’t planets at all and because it defines objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto’s orbit, it would not clear that orbit and therefore would not be considered a planet either. Plus, we have already found exoplanet systems where two giant planets orbit their star in a 3:2 resonance like Neptune and Pluto. According to the IAU definition, neither of these could be considered planets. The IAU definition also precludes any binary planet systems since by definition the two planets in a binary do not clear their orbits of one another. Not only is the IAU definition not reasonable–to the point that even many dynamicists reject it–the IAU has shown its complete inflexibility on the issue by refusing to allow any additional debate on this topic. If they are really so sure they have it right, why are they afraid to reopen the discussion so that this time, more than four percent of members can take part?

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