Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pluto becomes asteroid number 134340

To add insult to injury, poor Pluto which lost its planet status recently, is now only a number. Astronomers have named it asteroid number 13430. From Space.com:
Pluto has been given a new name to reflect its new status as a dwarf planet.

On Sept. 7, the former 9th planet was assigned the asteroid number 134340 by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), the official organization responsible for collecting data about asteroids and comets in our solar system.

The move reinforces the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) recent decision to strip Pluto of its planethood and places it in the same category as other small solar-system bodies with accurately known orbits.

Pluto's companion satellites, Charon, Nix and Hydra are considered part of the same system and will not be assigned separate asteroid numbers, said MPC director emeritus Brian Marsden. Instead, they will be called 134340 I, II and III, respectively.
No wonder some Pluto lovers are really unhappy. They have even setup an online Pluto petition to save the planet. Go cast your vote. Currently, there are close to 6000 votes that say Pluto is a planet. The people behind the petition plan to present it to the International Astronomical Union and ask its General Assembly to consider the results.

Previously: Pluto is officially dead

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