Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just How Many Planets?

From the IAU (International Astronomical Union)

The IAU draft definition of "planet" and "plutons"

16. August 2006, Prague

The world's astronomers, under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), have concluded two years of work defining the difference between "planets" and the smaller "solar system bodies" such as comets and asteroids. If the definition is approved by the astronomers gathered 14-25 August 2006 at the IAU General Assembly in Prague, our Solar System will include 12 planets, with more to come: eight classical planets that dominate the system, three planets in a new and growing category of "plutons" - Pluto-like objects - and Ceres. Pluto remains a planet and is the prototype for the new category of "plutons."

So if this passes, we will immediately jump from nine planets to twelve. The new ones will be Ceres, Charon (currently Pluto's moon), and UB313 (it's current designation - a new name will come later).

I may only have one week to still say that I have seen every planet in the solar system. Because as of next Friday, it won't be true.

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