Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006

"Dwarf Planet"

Set your phasers to...controversy! In August the International Astronomical Union ceremoniously ejected poor Pluto from the big boy planet club, reclassifying it as a dwarf planet (yes, that does sound like a distant place where Captain Kirk would have encountered some little people). Planette Pluto joins Ceres and Eris in the new classification, and possibly about a dozen other celestial bodies that orbit the sun. The debate was a heated one for scientists. But even with a spirited Internet campaign — including sales of "Honk if you think Pluto is still a planet" bumper stickers — the dwarves won out.