Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Seed gets it wrong

Seed magazine links here, but predicts that you will be able to find out if Pluto is a planet here. No, you won't! I think this is an incredibly unimportant topic, it's not what this meeting is about and I will not mention it at all. Well, not any more, that is.


At 6:49 PM, Anonymous lolife said...

Why not? Throw a bone to people who do care about that unimportant topic. Most astrophysics goes over most people's heads.

At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Daniel Fischer said...

Actually the Pluto issue *is* a big topic here - it was mentioned several times during the opening ceremony, there was already a vote on the procedural issue (that passed) which would allow a vote on the 24th on the actual issue, and the timetable of the whole meeting has already been changed to accomodate additional discussion. (The actual resolution to be voted upon will be published on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. CEST.)

Most importantly, this 'non-issue' has made the IAU and (their GA) more popular in the general press than *any* other event - which may be a good thing when the IAU makes other statements about light pollution, selling stars and the like.

Daniel Fischer,
science writer,
at the IAU GA

At 11:42 PM, Anonymous Amateur Heliochromologist said...

The status of Pluto is important because it impacts humanity in many ways; children like Pluto best over all the planets, plutonium is an element, plutonic is a mature behavior, it tests taxonomy, etc. It is the little guy, and everyone cheers the underdog. Oh yeah, Pluto is a dog, too. :)

Perhaps we should wait until after Horizons has studied Pluto. If there are Plutonians, how would they feel? (hehe)

Admittedly, it doesn't change a great deal of science; "a rose by any other name is still a rose".

Why not tackle tougher taxonomy? Is the sun a yellow dwarf? Nope.

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous ljk said...

I have to say your attitude towards the public and media reaction to the designation of Pluto and all similar objects has a strong feeling of intergalactic snobbery from the old days of astronomy (mainly pre-Space Age).

You know: The further it is from the Sol system (meaning Percival
Lowell and his ancient Martians with their darn canals), the more
important it is - to the professional astronomers.

Instead of this elitist attitude, I hope astronomers will use this
opportunity to educate the public and media on our favorite science
while at least one aspect of the field is hot, trendy, and generating publicity.

Otherwise, where do they hope to get future astronomers from, to say nothing of public support at tax time?

As for naming Pluto and all the smaller worlds, what about the good
old term Planetoid?

It means “little planets”, is less awkward than dwarf planets, and
goes in line with the less accurate term asteroid (little star).

I also think black holes should be called collapsars, keeping in line
with pulsars and quasars.

At 5:23 PM, Blogger malte said...

The planet question gets people (even astronomers, I've noticed) talking about astrophysics, so it has to be good!

I think you should definitely cover the issue in some way, even if it's just to give us an idea of how interested the astronomers actually are.

Hursomhelst, grattis på att ha fått igång en (åtminstone någorlunda) svensk proffsastroblogg! Det har jag ju
bloggat om på popast.nu.


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