The IAU Outdoes the Death Star

Turns out that you don’t need a world-crushing laser to destroy a planet.

You just need to redefine the word “planet.” Or — to be more accurate — to define it in the first place.

Pluto is officially no longer a planet. This was really pretty much inevitable. The only reason it was still considered a planet at all was the pretty lame “because we’ve traditionally said it’s a planet.” In light of discoveries of other celestial bodies that better fit into the category of “planet” in every objectively measureable aspect, there really wasn’t much choice but to either demote Pluto or call a whole bunch of other ice balls “planets” as well.

I thought I’d feel disappointed when this decision was finally announced, but I’m finding myself actually applauding it. Maybe it’s that I abhor decisions based solely on inertia. Or maybe it’s because in the scientific arena, the minimizing of subjectivity (in this case, actually deciding what makes up a planet) is always a good thing.

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