Wednesday, August 30, 2006
It is now "scientifically" official! Pluto is no longer a planet. Two paragraphs in the August 2006 issue of New Scientist Magazine provide a very concise explanation:
"Pluto is now only a dwarf planet, one of three in the solar system. The fate of Pluto was determined on Thursday (August 24, 2006) by a vote among members of the International Astronomical Union in Prague."
"They approved an initial resolution that requires a planet to dominate its neighborhood by clearing orbiting material out of its path. Dwarf planets, on the other hand, are large enough for gravity to make them round, but not big enough to clear out their orbits."
If my interpretation is correct, this could refer to a lot of celestial debris occupying the same orbit as Pluto. Since Pluto is not big enough to pull this material out of orbit, members of the International Astronomical Union decided to downgrade Pluto from "planet" to the status of "dwarf planet."................
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