A Sad Year
As 2006 draws to a close, I’m reminded what a sad year it was for our solar system. This was the year that the International Astronomical Union (slogan: we gaze when it pays) voted down Pluto’s membership on the Planetary Committee.
I suppose we should have seen the writing on the wall for Pluto back in 1999 when the IAU last took up the issue of Pluto’s position. Back then the union caved to outside pressure at the last minute when the public got wind of their impending action.
However this time around Pluto just couldn’t muster the votes and was sent packing, a planet no more. But rather than go straight at the issue and risk a public outcry, the Union leadership chose a more effective indirect approach to oust Pluto. Instead of voting on Pluto’s status directly they redefined the requirements for office in such a way that Pluto couldn’t possibly remain.
Under the new Union rules Pluto has been relegated to “Dwarf Planet” status and no longer has the influence it enjoyed previously. Rumor has it the EEOC is investigating allegations of discrimination in the case.