"...the new rules for a planet: "a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."According to CNN the new rule was accepted to general applause by the the International Astronomical Union.
Pluto is automatically disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's.
Instead, it will be reclassified in a new category of "dwarf planets," similar to what long have been termed "minor planets." The definition also lays out a third class of lesser objects that orbit the sun -- "small solar system bodies," a term that will apply to numerous asteroids, comets and other natural satellites."[Underlining by RB]
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Suzanne Nossel at Political Animal (Kevin Drum is vacationing at the Science Fiction Convention at Anaheim) spreads the bad news.
Posted by Richard at 1:53 PM