Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And soon, there will be twelve planets

Get ready to rewrite all science textbooks and astronomy books because if the International Astronomical Union has its way, then there will be twelve planets in our solar system instead of the current nine. From Space.com:
The proposal, which sources tell SPACE.com is gaining broad support, tries to plug a big gap in astronomy textbooks, which have never had a definition for the word "planet." It addresses discoveries of Pluto-sized worlds that have in recent years pitched astronomers into heated debates over terminology.

* The asteroid Ceres, which is round, would be recast as a dwarf planet in the new scheme.

* Pluto would remain a planet and its moon Charon would be reclassified as a planet. Both would be called "plutons," however, to distinguish them from the eight "classical" planets.

* A far-out Pluto-sized object known as 2003 UB313 would also be called a pluton.

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