Friday, August 25, 2006
You've no doubt read by now that Pluto has been booted from the planetary roster of our Sun. This renders my early 19th century Map of the Solar System accurate for the first time in nearly 200 years, but it's a sad day for the Kansans among us who will ever remember that it was small town Kansas boy Clyde Tombaugh who discovered Pluto back in 1930. Pluto and its moon Charon, along with the asteroid Ceres, and newly discovered 2003 UB313 (aka Xena, as in Warrior Princess) will now be deemed "dwarf planets" due to their small size and the numerosity of similarly-sized objects within the solar system. The Wall Street Journal notes that this decision could have a devastating effect on Scorpios, of which I am one, due to Pluto's close association with that sign. Only 300 of 2500 astronomers in attendance at the IAU's meeting this week voted on whether to strip Pluto of its status, so the decision is hardly a mandate. Nevertheless, as my young friend Jack said yesterday, "I'm going to miss Pluto."