Quote of the Day, You Can’t Give Pluto Its Planetary Status Back… edition.

It was never yours to take away*.

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union, a global group of astronomy experts, established a definition of a planet that required it to “clear” its orbit, or in other words, be the largest gravitational force in its orbit.

Since Neptune’s gravity influences its neighboring planet Pluto, and Pluto shares its orbit with frozen gases and objects in the Kuiper belt, that meant Pluto was out of planet status.However, in a new study published online Wednesday in the journal Icarus, UCF planetary scientist Philip Metzger, who is with the university’s Florida Space Institute, reported that this standard for classifying  is not supported in the research literature.

Via Ken Hite on Facebook.  Some day, we will discover the reason why the IAU decided to go down this dark path.  Not that I am assuming some sort of dark conspiracy, coupled with sweet, sweet bribe money.  But that’s mostly because I can’t really determine what financial gain could be gleaned from demoting Pluto from its planetary status.

But it’s a planet, dammit.  I will die upon this hill.

Moe Lane

*Thank you, Terry Pratchett.



  • Rockphed says:

    Since I don’t have time to read all of Discworld again, which book is that Pratchett quote from?

    • Moe_Lane says:

      It’s a modified line from Guards! Guards!

      “You can’t give me my job back. It was never yours to take away. I was never an officer of the city, or an officer of the king, or an officer of the Patrician. I was an officer of the law. It might have been corrupted and bent, but it was law, of a sort. There isn’t any law now except: ‘you’ll get burned alive if you don’t watch out’. Where’s the place in there for me?”

      …That’s when I knew that I would be buying The Watch books in hardcover if necessary, and damn the expense.

      • Rockphed says:

        I need to re-read the classic Discworld books. Frankly, I think things started to fall apart after Night Watch, but I enjoyed everything before that.

        • junior says:

          Pratchett was suffering from a mild form of Alzheimer’s in his later years. I suspect it started to affect his work.

          My introduction to him was Small Gods. I think it’s still my favorite of his books.

  • nicklevi86 says:

    Pluto is still there. The egg-heads can quibble over labels, no doubt corrupted by the current madnesses, as if their opinion maters to any of the heavenly bodies. After their echoes have faded and they have turned to dust, Pluto will remain.

  • Finrod says:

    Pin-Bot has always had Pluto as a planet.

  • dljessup says:

    Moe: I’m going to recommend a book to you: How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming. It’s by Mike Brown, who led the team that discovered Eris, which is slightly more massive than Pluto and could plausibly be considered the tenth planet. I thought it was a good read and it explains why the IAU “chose to go down this dark path”.

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