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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
2 February 1999 7:00 pm
Leave Pluto alone! That's the message astronomers all over the world are sending the International Astronomical Union (IAU). A recent discussion about whether Pluto should be cataloged as the 10,000th entry in the list of minor bodies in the solar system (Science, 8 January, p. 157) has alarmed planetary researchers, who worry that the public would see the move as a demotion for Pluto.
The Committee of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society joined the chorus last week in a statement forwarded to the IAU, arguing that there is no compelling reason for the celestial body's declassification. "For now at least nothing should be done," says DPS chair Don Yeomans of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Most solar system researchers agree, says Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Although Pluto is by strict definition a trans-Neptunian object, dozens of which have been found in the past decade, Stern sees no reason why it can't be called a planet, too.
The IAU isn't about to make a decision anytime soon. But it now knows how strongly some people feel about the subject. Says Yeomans: "There are nine planets, period."