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Outside editorial: Reaction to Pluto's demotion

Posted: Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pluto dwarfed

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This editorial appeared in the Miami Herald:

Astronomers' doubts about Pluto's planetary status had persisted for years until recently when they finally came to a consensus at the International Astronomical Union's General Assembly. They stripped the solar system's oddball of its title and dubbed it a "dwarf-planet."

The other planets are organized into distinct groups: the four inner terrestrial planets and four outer "gas giants." Pluto, with its eccentric size, orbit, tilt and moon, doesn't fit in either group. Most likely, it is a large Kuiper Belt object that did not complete planetary development.

Bidding Pluto adieu as a planet is one of many debates left to settle among astronomers. But this kind of international academic discourse will prove essential in answering the greater questions.

Lost in space

This editorial appeared in the New York Daily News:

Huh? Pluto ain't a planet after all? What happened? Just the other day, the world's astronomers seemed pretty much in agreement that, certainly, Pluto's a planet, a member in good standing of the solar system. Now they've given Pluto the old heave-ho. But - but -

Well, 76 years isn't such a bad run. And it isn't every barren rock roaming around out there that can say, "Yo, I useta be a planet." Pluto will always have its memories. As will those of us dwellers on the third stone from the sun who grew up knowing Pluto as darn well one of our nine planets and always really loved it. Farewell, Pluto.



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