Thursday, August 24, 2006

New Planets?

The general idea is that there are nine planets in the Solar System. From the orbit closest to the Sun and out they are Mercury, Venus, Earth (where dogs and humans live), Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

There is an international organization of astronomers who decide upon new names of further objects discovered out there in space, the International Astronomical Union or IAU. They currently have a General Assembly in Prague that will decide on how to define a planet. I guess you could compare this to the decisions on dog breeds made by the General Assembly of the FCI. There is a proposed resolution to the IAU General Assembly to extend the definition of the word planet. With the new definition, there will be twelve planets in our Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon, and 2003 UB313. The object 2003 UB313 has a provisional name, it has not yet been assigned a better name.

I really hope this resolution will pass. All the current planets are named after ancient gods of the Roman empire, all of whom have human form. Then there is Charon, so far considered a moon of Pluto, that is named after a god in the form of a dog. Planets are always considered to be the most important objects of a star system, except for the star (or stars), so it would be nice for all the dogs in the world to have a planet named after a dog.

There is a famous cartoon dog called Pluto, but this dog is off course named after the planet, not the other way around.

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