Friday, August 25, 2006

News from the world of Classificational Astronomy (again)

Despite lobbying by tens of thousands of H P Lovecraft fans[1], and my own take on the situation [2], the IAU has demoted Pluto from "planet" to "dwarf planet": BBC report, BBC Q&A, and the BBC on the controversy.

This leaves us with the classic 8 planets. If you don't already know them, I'll happily come round and demonstrate with a ping pong ball, a football, an orange and whatever else they used in that episode of Porridge.

The good news is that this gives me a chance to round up some earlier Plutocentric web pages etc.

Tim Kreider broke his cartooning hiatus to make his view known. (Here is an earlier cartoon of his on Pluto).

Charles Stross explains that there's only four planets in the solar system; the rest are just hunks of rock left over from the accretion process (one of his commenters goes on to assert that there's only one planet in the solar system; the rest are just hunks of rock and gas left over from the etc. etc.) has updated it's definition of Pluto, but a sensible and useful solar system resource now has a domain name that sounds like it's a pluto-is-a-planet extremist site.

I haven't actually checked what the Walt Disney Corporation have to say, but I'm guessing it would go something like:

We had hoped to get 2003 UB313 named "Mickey" but anything that keeps one of our characters in the news headlines is good. Not that there's anyone on Earth who hasn't already heard of Disney.

[Edit: I forgot to add Warren Ellis' thoughts on the subject]

[1] and it's a purely a coincidence that this decision has been made the week before the Worldcon, meaning that the world's most rabid fanatical SF fans are on a different continent.
[2] "It's cool to have more planets"
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