Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Xena, Charon, and Ceres join the team...

So here's a very nerdy science post for you. Fortunately it will be short. I just wanted to mention in case you missed it. This week, today in fact, at the end of the International Astronomers Union forum in Prague they have finally put forth an actual "definition" for the word Planet.

Apparently in all the most fashionable astronomical circles, which as we all know are the coolest clicks in town, there's been something of an uproar since the 1930s when Pluto became a formal planet. Especially once it was discovered that Pluto is actually like half the size of the Earth's moon. Wow, can someone say awkward....

Then in 2003 the debate flared again with the discovery of a tenth planet Xena. Yes, it was named after Lucy Lawless' character on the tv show, proving once again just how cool astronomers really are :)

Finally the debate has been settled. Hurrah!!! According to this story, and a few more that I've read over the past few days and can't be bothered finding now, the IAU have come to a definition for the term planet. And guess what kids? Our little solar family just got a bit bigger. That's right I'd like to officially be one of the first non-science geekified bloggers to stand up and recognize our three, that's right I said three new official planets: Xena, Charon, and Ceres.

I'm sure our new planets will do us proud. Pluto, Xena, and Charon (once thought to be Pluto's moon) are now all classified as Plutons, and Ceres as a Dwarf Planet. But officially our count is now up to 12. I guess this means all the text books will have to be changed.

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