Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Astronomer's Civil War

The world’s Astronomers have chosen to organize themselves and make the rules and definitions they use as a community in an organized body called the “International Astronomical Union”, or the IAU. This group has no peer. There is only one. Therefore, whatever they decide to vote on becomes planetary astronomical law. This group met in August and decided the definition of a planet. In the process, several hundred extra-solar planets were lost and so was Pluto – literally voted out and disowned within the solar system’s planetary community.

To say this was not accepted very well around the world is an understatement. To say that this was not accepted in the world community of astronomers is also an understatement. The members had not even left their Prague hotels when the first petitions began to fly denouncing the decision as bogus. Now there are more signatures on the petitions than votes cast – and this is among professional astronomers. Many have even announced they will not recognize or teach the definition because it is fatally flawed. The world’s astronomers are now engaged in a full-up civil war.

Joining tomorrow in a 35 minute Podcast will be IAU member, professional planetary astronomer and Principal Investigator for the New Horizons Mission to Pluto, Dr. Alan Stern. Dr. Stern has pulled no punches in this debate and will join us here in at - the official Internet hideout for astronomer rebels. You don't want to miss this one!