Pluto IS still a planet. Only four percent of the IAU voted on this, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. Stern and like-minded scientists favor a broader planet definition that includes any non-self-luminous spheroidal body in orbit around a star. The spherical part is important because objects become spherical when they attain a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium, meaning they are large enough for their own gravity to pull them into a round shape. This is a characteristic of planets and not of shapeless asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects. Pluto meets this criterion and is therefore a planet. Under this definition, our solar system has 13 planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.
Oh nevermind, I take it back. Triceratops isn’t going anywhere. Anyone going to miss the torosaurus? http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727713.500-morphosaurs-how-shapeshifting-dinosaurs-deceived-us.html “It was already known that triceratops skulls changed throughout their development, but not that the final result was a torosaurus. Torosaurus will now be abolished as a species and specimens reassigned to Triceratops, says Horner.” YAY!!! Now, if we could just find a way for Pluto to make it back…
This is kind of genius. The scientists will get over it, and eventually, I think, everyone else will too. It’s just kind of sad when you learn that something you were taught as a fundamental piece of knowledge as a child no longer is true. There’s this horrible sense of betrayal. Kind of like when I started poking around in closets looking for my boots that week before Christmas. :(