today will be a turning point in astronomy, at least as far as local astronomy is concerned,
the IAU are set to vote today on the Definition of a planet, and, effectively whether or not Pluto is one.
the problem being, no matter what is decided, there will no longer be "9" planets in our solar system,
If pluto is voted not a planet, we will be down to 8
If pluto is a planet, then we will need to include UB313 aka "Xena", along with possibly dozens of other objects
the definition of a planet is by no means straight forward, - at least until the vote / debate is complete,
they know when an astronomical object is too big to be a planet, that is when it is large enough to sustain a nuclear reaction at its core, then it is a "Brown Dwarf"
but when does a planet become a chunk of rock, and when does a chunk of rock become a planet?
this should all be decided by this time tomorrow,
however Im sure the debate will still wage.
I think they should increase the number of planets, (albeit to the detriment of school students having to memorise the order)
rather than take pluto off the list,
i like the idea of expanding our definition of objects in the solar system not deciding to reduce it to stop new additions.
on a side note, the other focus for the IAU conference is women and Astronomy with 300 women going along to the event.
more information here: http://www.astronomy2006.com/
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