The Planet Pluto

By now you probably know that the International Astronomical Union has voted to demote Pluto to dwarf planet status. If you don't like that, and you aren't a member of an IAU member society, feel free to ignore it. I know I will. Nobody delegated the IAU to speak for me. Come to think of it, feel free to ignore it even if you are an IAU member society member.

The whole thing seems a bit silly to me. The planets in our solar system are different enough that each is something of a special case, anyway. When we know more about extrasolar planets, we might be able to make more sensible distinctions.

Clyde Tombaugh's widow admitted to being somewhat upset, but said today that she thought Clyde would have understood. Well maybe. The last time I recall speaking to him we were climbing up a platform in his backyard, more or less into a tree as I recall, to take a look at Halley's comet. He was 84 then, tiny and bent with arthritis, but still spry and intellectually curious.

Anyway, I still live in a star system with nine planets. I doubt that many of my astronomer friends will be confused if I mention the discoverer of the ninth planet, Pluto.

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