Good-Bye “Planet” Pluto

Finally! Pluto is a planet no longer. I've long been of the opinion that Pluto was undeserving of it's status as a planet, feeling it's little more than just another Kuiper Belt object. My opinion was validated further three years ago with the discovery of 2003 UB313, another large Kuiper Belt object. Larger even than Pluto and further out from the sun, it supplied evidence that such bodies are likely fairly common out in the fringes of the solar system. I suspect NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt will uncover even more of these objects, perhaps hundreds of them. So, any planet definition that includes Pluto could perhaps lead to one day soon having hundreds of planets.

So kudos to the International Astronomical Union for finally crafting a reasonable definition for a planet, and for not allowing the emotional appeals of Pluto fans to influence their decision. To me, allowing some emotional attachment to an astronomical body to dictate the scientific definition is every bit as inappropriate as allowing religious beliefs to influence scientific teachings in regards to evolution. Pluto still maintains a pseudo-planetary definition of a “dwarf planet” as a compromise of sorts, so hopefully the Pluto fans can accept this and allow astronomy and planetary science to move on from this whole topic and get back to the real science.