Pluto the not quite a Planet

Lovely graphic today at one of my favourite sites (it’s my browser’s homepage), Astronomy Picture of the Day, which I’ll put up just because it gives such a clear idea of the proportions of the planets and other orbiting bodies making up our Solar System. The planets are much further apart from each other and from the Sun than that, but the relative sizes are correct.

Of course the reason for the picture is the decision made last week by astronomers that Pluto was no longer to be considered a planet, but was now classified as a dwarf planet along with Ceres and the as yet formally unnamed 2003 UB313, popularly called Xena.

The Bad Astronomy blog has a post up with a video of Stephen Colbert forcing a museum manager to apologise to the ex-planet for leaving Pluto out of the model of the Solar System his museum built a few years ago: “Now look what you’ve done!”

ADDENDUM 2010: The original title of this post was “Dwarf planets got no reason to spin (with apologies to Randy Newman)”. The prejudicial language of this title was recently brought to my attention, so I have changed the title so that it no longer appears in related post results at the foot of other posts. I apologise profusely. This post was made before I understood as much as I do now about the intersectionality of oppressions and how terribly Randy Newman’s song has been used to ridicule the already marginalised group of Little People – I had believed that it was “just satire” that mocked bigotry rather than generating it. I was wrong. I wouldn’t use such a title again. </pP

Categories: Science

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1 reply

  1. I only just noticed that the shadows suck! What’s illuminating the planets to make the shadows like that? Certainly not the Sun in that position.
    I vaguely remember one of those English boarding school series where the French mistress was always telling the plucky twins that their performance was “Abominable!”.
    She would have definitely muttered at this.

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