English_Master June 7, 2016 No Comments
PLUTO’S DEMOTION, SCIENCE AND SUPERSTITION Despite the fact that Pluto will no longer be mentioned in science text books as the ninth player in our solar system-scientists have reduced the number of planets to eight-it will surely be one of the most hotly debated and studied objects in the years to come. If 1930 marked the year when the 22 year-old Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, August 24,2006 saw the International Astronomical Union (IAU) stripping it of its status as a planet. Incidentally, the same international body had recognized it as a planet in 1930. Araied with a new definition of the planet, the IAU has decided now to backtrack from its own decision taken at mat time. But what in the first place prompted scientists to demote Pluto? Whole controversy started three years ago with the discovery of Xenaby Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology “Had Xena’s mass [and hence the lack of nearly round shape and size been smaller/ there would have been no problems,” said Dr. Siraj Hasan, Director of the Bangalore based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (HAP). Dr. Hasan represented India at the IAU meeting in Prague. That was not to be. “If Pluto can be a planet then why not Xena,” he said...
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