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Pluto Demoted to Dwarf Planet Status

Posted August. 26, 2006 03:22,   


What is the smallest planet in the solar system? The answer is Mercury. But until August 23, the answer was Pluto.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided on August 24 to change the status of Pluto, which was the ninth planet in the solar system, making worldwide science and education circles and the publishing and toy industries busy. From now on, teachers must teach students that Pluto is not a planet like Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. If textbooks cannot be corrected right away, educators have no choice but to use a complementary book.

The New York Times reported that the World Book Encyclopedia, which has been putting off publication of its 2007 edition, will start printing, defining Pluto as a “dwarf planet.” The IAU demoted Pluto to “dwarf planet” status, but showed respect by calling it the prototype of dwarf planets.

NASA, which launched a New Horizons spacecraft on a mission to Pluto, gave the spacecraft a new mission to probe the prototype of dwarf planets. New Horizons is expected to arrive at Pluto in 2015.

Quoted on Space.com was, “With the new definition of a planet, more planets will be classified as dwarf planets not to mention Pluto, Ceres, and 2003UB313, or Xena. The naming process will not be easy.” That is, we could run out of names for dwarf planets, since planets have been named after Roman Gods.

The Walt Disney Company released a statement that there would be no reason for Pluto to bite an astronomer, indicating that there would be no change to Pluto, the cartoon character.