Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sky Guy Internet ALERT 7:30 PM, EDT, 9-1-8-14, Debate on "What Is A Planet?"

Hey Space Placers!

Still mad about Pluto's demotion to minor planet status? Want to learn more about the whole "what is a planet" debate?

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. EDT is you chance as the HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS (CfA) hosts an Internet debate.

Here are the details from the CfA press release:


In 2006, when the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted on the definition of a “planet” and booted Pluto out of the club, confusion resulted. Was a “dwarf planet” a small planet or something else? Was a “dwarf fruit tree” a small tree or something else? Almost eight years later, most astronomers and the public are still as uncertain about what a planet is as they were back then.

On September 18th, three different experts in planetary science will present each of their cases as to what a planet is or isn’t. Science historian Dr. Owen Gingerich, who chaired the IAU planet definition committee, will present the historical viewpoint. Dr. Gareth Williams, associate director of the Minor Planet Center, will present the IAU’s viewpoint. And Dr. Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, will present the exoplanet scientist’s viewpoint.

After these experts have made their best case, the audience will get to vote as to what a planet is or isn’t and whether Pluto is in or out. And just like the IAU, you have to be present to cast your ballot! The results will be announced on Friday, September 19th.

Watch It Live

Date: Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT

The talk will also be archived on the Observatory Nights YouTube channel immediately following the event.

I look forward to seeing the voting results.

Sky Guy in VA

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