Pluto’s out: will Rhode Island be designated a “dwarf state”? (Friday humour)

As was widely reported, the International Astronomical Union voted to remove Pluto’s designation as a planet in the solar system. Now, it’s considered a “Dwarf planet.”

Note that the IAU has not updated their official page page on the topic of Pluto’s status on the org’s web site, but have published this post on the last general assembly meeting. NASA has already updated their page on the new scientific definition of a “planet” which does not include Pluto. (NASA: “Pluto has now been classified scientifically as a “dwarf planet”. For more details, see the IAU resolution.“)

Download Fullsize TIFF   Download Fullsize JPEG  Credit: The International Astronomical Union/Martin Kornmesser

I take offense to this casual rewriting of history, with Pluto occupying volumes in history books since it was first discovered in 1930 (on February 18th by Clyde Tombaugh, named after Pluto, the Roman god of the underworld). Want to make your opinion known? Contact the IAU’s Secretariat or the Division III president for Planetary Systems Sciences, Iwan Williams.

For traditional (print) textbook companies, this will mean a bonanza of new book sales as they rush the findings of the IAU revision into print. Up to 2 million pages, according to msn Search, will need to be updated. Countless observatories and museums will be spending millions on renovating their exhibits of the solar system: the National Air and Space Museum’s exhibit will no doubt have to build a new broom closet for the dwarf planets, or at least crowd Pluto’s area to include Ceres and 2003UB-313 along side Pluto.

Not likely.

What’s next… will someone decide that Rhode Island is too small to be a full-sized state and designated it as a”dwarf state”? No one in Canada calls Prince Edward Island — the smallest province in Canada — a dwarf province. Perhaps the mini will be classified as a new type of automobile.

This will no doubt carry over to the tech industry, with mini SD storage cards casually referred to as “dwarf storage,” Ultra-Mobile PCs would be Dwarf PCs, and WindowsXP Embedded known as a “dwarf OS.”

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