PLUTON UPDATE….Pluto is not out of the woods yet. Apparently the Pluto skeptics are unhappy with the shilly-shallying “pluton” classification proposed earlier this week and are regrouping for a fresh assault. Being a planet, they say, is like being a neighborhood bully: you’d better be the only one in your neighborhood.
The dissenters, from Uruguay, France, Brazil, Italy and elsewhere, have what they call a simpler idea. To be a planet, they suggest, the object must not only be round, but be “by far” the largest body in its local population.
So Pluto, which is only marginally bigger than several other pieces of Kuiper Belt junk, wouldn’t make the cut. Ceres, which is less than twice the size of the next biggest asteroid, would also be tossed aside. And the solar system would end up with eight planets.
Plutophiles better hop to it. If they don’t keep the pressure up, the natural scientific instincts of the astronomical community might peek out just long enough for them to demote Pluto after all. The battle isn’t won yet.