The Pluto formerly known as a planet

At the 2006 IAU meeting held in Prague this past summer, the scientists voted that every planet must also have "cleared the neighborhood around its orbit." Since only spheres with a large mass can achieve such orbital dominance, Pluto was no longer a planet. The scientific bureaucracy had spoken; our solar system had shrunk.

Too bad for Pluto. But in the end I think this will turn out to be one of those nitpicky things only people like me know and bore everyone with.

"Did you know that technically a tomato is a fruit?"
"Is that right?"
"Yes, a tomato is technically a fruit but it was ruled a vegetable for tariff purposes. Hey, wake up!"
"Did you know Pluto isn't really a planet because it doesn't clear the neighborhood around its orbit?"
"Oh really...zzzzzzzz"

Pluto will stay a planet in everybody's mind because it's always been a planet. The IAU should have just grandfathered in Pluto, saved everybody a bunch of trouble, and made themselves heroes to every kid with even a passing interest in space (which should be a lot more of them).
[tags]space,science,pluto,planets[/tags]