01 September 2006


Link found by galbinus caeli, I replied so long to his (?) post that I just had to repost the meat of it here. In sum, the Divsion of Planetary Sciences critisized the IAU's new definition of planet, but I don't think their criticism is anything worth writing home about.

It's also worth noting that the DPS is just a part of the AAS (said "double-A-S"), and most astronomers don't give much of a shit what we call those local rocks. Many astronomers even think that once we've landed on it, the thing is part of geology, not astronomy. Planetary Science therefore is a bit of an interdisciplinary subject. Sure planets are exciting to the public, but there's a LOT more out there.

That said, I'm all into public outreach (despite planets not being my field), and I agree with the DPS's comment that the IAU definition is still quite fuzzy - interpret "control a zone" the right way and we rule out Jupiter b/c of its Trojan asteroids. I think all of us know that the definition's still got a lot of flaws, but they had to start somewhere. Shooting down the current definition b/c of its flaws is tantamount to agreeing with IDers that evolution's flawed and should be shot down.

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