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And then there were 8

August 24, 2006

It seems that our solar system only has 8 planets after all.  As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now there’s been quite a controversy over the last week or two as 2500 astronomers gather at a conference to debate what is, and isn’t, a planet.

Pluto didn’t make the cut and is now a “dwarf planet”.  Link to Wired News: Pluto Stripped of Planet Status

Pretty interesting stuff, but what I love is how the public has really shown interest in this.  I’m glad to see the mass media covering real scientific debate, taking time out of the busy schedule discussing what some murderer ate on his plane trip back to the US.

Science isn’t cut and dried, yes and no.  It’s a consensus of opinions of the scientific community.  If most people think the Earth is flat, it is until enough opinions change because of some new discovery.  I love that.  I think Einstein did too.

Anyway, this should make life easier for middle school students everywhere!  🙂

UPDATE: Scott Adams has a great analysis of this whole Pluto thing on his blog today.  It’s a must read!  (FYI – Scott is the creator of Dilbert)

“Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think Pluto should be the funniest planet – or even the funniest non-planet. That distinction belongs to another. Uranus, 8th celestial body from the sun, is part miracle of gravity and part bung hole. It has earned its status as the funny man of the cosmos.”

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