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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Geophysical Planet Definition: Discussion led by Kirby Runyon

Presentations and discussion at the 2018 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) about the geophysical planet definition and the 100s of objects it recognizes as planets within our Solar System. Pluto IS a full-fledged planet (and so are a lot of other round worlds)!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Debunking an Urban Legend of Asteroidal Proportions - Philip Metzger

Planetary scientist and physicist Philip Metzger has written a very informative blog entry debunking misconceptions about the alleged past demotion of asteroids from planets to non-planets. Below is the link to his entry, which summarizes a paper he cowrote with fellow planetary scientists Mark Sykes, Alan Stern, and Kirby Runyon for publication in a science journal and for a public presentation, "Planetary Taxonomy: The Geophysical Planet Definition," which will be presented tomorrow, Sunday, March 18, 2018, at the Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference 2018.

Debunking an Urban Legend of Asteroidal Proportions - Philip Metzger:

A pre-print of the whole journal article is available for download here:

Just how unscientific has the IAU been about planet definition over the years? Metzger tells this shocking story:

"I mentioned above about authorities 'imposing decisions on individual scientists.' Does that really happen? Well, the IAU tried to make it happen. A colleague who is on the editorial board of one of the major planetary science journals told me that the IAU wrote to the editors and asked them to deny publication to any manuscript that doesn’t bend the knee to accept the IAU’s definitions. My colleague says the editors decided to reject the request. Thankfully so! Scientific freedom lives to fight another day."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Today: Pluto Discovery Telescope Grand Renovation at Lowell Observatory

Today, the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, where Pluto was discovered 88 years ago, is holding a Grand Reopening celebration for the 90-year-old Pluto Discovery Telescope, which just completed a year of renovation.