Planet Pluto

Pluto is officially a planet – an announcement which is already sparking controversy in the astronosphere (that’s the sexy world of astronomers). Seems that professional stargazers have battles just like bloggers do. The Bad Astronomer, as always, sums it up nicely:

The problem here is simple, really: we’re trying to wrap a scientific definition around a culturally-defined word that has no strict definition. Doing this will only lead to trouble. Why? For one thing, it’s divisive and silly. How does a definition help us at all? And how does it make things less confusing than they already are? Charon is a planet? It’s smaller than our own Moon!

Gawd, this sounds exactly like the whole RSS vs. Atom vs. Feed debate all over again – with a lot more comet dust. I bet our kids will have to study and memorize the names of all the plutons in the solar system soon enough. Coincidentally, the face on Mars just sneezed (five minutes ago, according to Wikipedia).

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