solar system, version 3 beta

I find this rather intriguing. I just read in http://spaceweather.com that the IAU will be voting on a redefinition of the word, planet. This could change everything! I mean, when was the last major upgrade to the solar system? When we found Pluto? Or do you count the newbie out beyond Pluto? I think of those as “add-ons.” No, probably not since Galileo stood up and said, “um, yeah, I’m with Copernicus on this one.”

But, I guess it had to happen. We see so many things being “redefined” of late. I mean, just think of the word, “liberal.” I used to be a liberal, but now the Clintons and Lieberman are liberals. huh? I think that makes me an anarchist.

but i digress…

So yeah, why not redefine planet? That’s what the IAU vote next week will do. Former asteroids will be planets, and Pluto’s planetary status finally assured. Our solar system will have 12 planets instead of 9. Hopefully, with this change, we won’t be as mean-spirited as the church was with the last one (sympathies to Galileo).

Of course, we will have to rewrite all the textbooks. Oy! Just think of all those damn solar system models we made as kids? There’s gonna be a lot of out of date stuff on the “intarweb” too. For some reason, that makes me smile.

Read more:

— for the IAU statement on the definition of a planet,
http://www.iau2006.org/mirror/www.iau.org/iau0601/iau0601_release.html

— and here’s a cute little chronology of the solar system,
http://www.nineplanets.org/history.html

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