Thursday, August 24, 2006

Houston, One of Our Planets is Missing . . . .

Well, they went and did it. At the International Ubergeek Festival Astronomical Union General Assembly in Prague, they eliminated the only planet discovered by an American -- Pluto. The discovery of Pluto was itself an inspiring and uniquely American story. But now those geeky bastards have robbed us of our planet and relegated it to just another rock lost in space-time.

[UPDATE (8/25/06): The 93-year old widow of Pluto's discoverer was frustrated by the decision, but says that she and her late husband expected it. She noted that with the advance in telescopes, the discoveries of similar-sized bodies forshadowed the development. As an aside, the discovery of similar-sized bodies just points up how remarkable and achievement Tombaugh's discovery was. With much more sophisticated equipment than available to Tombaugh in 1930, it still took astronomers 60 years to find another body the same size as Pluto.]


An Upstep or a Downstep said...

Here is a recent editorial cartoon regarding the possibility of increasing the number of planets:

A Big Fat Slob said...

Great cartoon.

Coincidentally, Jim Borgman was the cartoonist on the college newspaper that I worked on. He went on to great fame and adulation and I just got old.