Planet Pluto gets a demotion

August 25, 2006

Cartoon: RK

Pluto is no more a planet reads the headline in today’s HINDU.

Earth’s neighbourhood just shrank. The International Astronomical Union has demoted Pluto to a dwarf planet. The Union, which has the world’s leading astronomers, has changed the definition of what a planet is.

Till now any object larger than 800 kilometers in diameter and orbiting the sun qualified as a planet. But according to the new definition, a planet must be the dominant object in the area – a criteria that ruled puny Pluto out from the big boy’s club.

Pluto, the smallest and the further most planet in our solar system was discovered in 1930. Since then, many similar objects have been found floating around the Kuiper Belt, which is the outer region of the solar system. So now Pluto, along with it’s largest moon Charon, the asteroid – Ceres and the newly discovered Xena will all be called dwarf planets or ‘Plutons’.

So, while Pluto’s change in status may not really affect the astrologers or the astronomers, the planet will be brushed out of school and university textbooks.

And Pluto the dog doesn’t have to compete with the planet anymore.

Update: A couple of interesting articles related to ‘Pluto’s demotion’ appeared this week in THE HINDU.

Future imperfect

Pluto’s demotion, science and superstition

25 Responses to “Planet Pluto gets a demotion”

  1. srimathi Says:

    Hope mickey is left alone!

  2. Gunashekar D Says:

    Hi Bellur,

    Have to see how this will affect one’s horoscope..!?

    One is sure all the text books in the world has to change along with the people mind set.

    Wonder how teachers and students take this.

    Thanks for updation.

  3. Diya Says:

    Hey cool 🙂 Great cartoon 🙂

  4. Sanjay M Says:

    Interesting news Bellur! Cool cartoon 😀 Hmm wonder how many more things that we’d studied and know for sure will have to be relearned!

    Anyway here’s a story…

    Its not long before the Plutonians find out that their status has fallen, resulting in a long drawn out era of strife and prejudice.

    Amidst all this, Plutoness and Earthling meet and fall in love on Mars. They are doomed from the start as members of two warring planets. Plutoness tells Earthling that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention, and that she loves the person who is called “Earthling”, not the Earthling name. Earthling, out of his passion for Plutoness, rejects his planetary name and vows, as Plutoness asks, to “deny (his) planet” and instead be “new baptized” as Plutoness’s lover. This one short line encapsulates the central struggle and tragedy of the play: “What’s in a name? that which we call a planet, by any other word would revolve as fast.”


    Mangled from: Shakespear Quotes 😉

  5. rk Says:

    Do not worry. Mickey is a strong character. No one can ‘Dwarf’ him so easily as they dwarfed the Planet Pluto.

    Mickey Mouse’s dog and best pal, Pluto first appeared in 1930 in the Disney cartoon The Chain Gang, as a bloodhound unleashed to find escaped felon Mickey. To this day, he neither wears clothes nor gloves, and he has prompted endless discussion as to why Goofy can talk and Pluto can’t.

    The article says that Pluto’s change in status may not really affect the astrologers or the astronomers….
    As for students, they have one less planet to memorise and for the teachers, one less planet to teach the noisy class.

    Thanks. 🙂

    Glad you found it cool. Good story. Thanks for that last line: “What’s in a name? that which we call a planet, by any other word would revolve as fast.”

  6. Shruthi Says:

    Bellur… too cool!! 😀

  7. usha Says:

    Interesting post bellur


  8. Gangadhar Says:

    cool cartoon..

  9. travel plaza Says:

    Very interesting, RK. And the cartoon is cool.

  10. travel plaza Says:

    I also wanted to ask, did you draw the cartoon yourself?

  11. Vani Says:

    Super Cartoon, Bellur.

  12. rk Says:

    shruthi, usha, gangadhar, tp and vani,
    thank you all. glad you all liked my cartoon and found the post interesting. i think the future generation will find this bit of news more interesting! 🙂

  13. Alka Says:

    First time on your blog. Few days ago, I was hearing about 12 planets, and now this demotion!!!!! Well what can be done and said. I wonder what astrologers say about this.

  14. Vijay Says:

    RK.. good one…

    I wonder how this works.. Is there like a standing committee of Astronomers that decides that Pluto gets demoted? Will navagrahas now become ashtagrahas?

  15. Mridula Says:

    Way too cool cartoon, more so because I passed drawing in school only because I was decent at other subjects and as a charity the teachers would let me pass in drawing 🙂

  16. rk Says:

    Welcome to my blog.

    I wonder what astrologers say about this.

    In an Indian Express interview on August 26, Pankaj Nagar, formerly vice-president of Indian Astrological Society of India, says “PLUTO may have tumbled from its planet number nine position, but astrologers aren’t really perturbed. For Indian astrology, over 5,000 years old, never had Pluto as one of its main planets, be it when making and analysing horoscopes or studying planetary alignments. We have only seven planets according to our ancient shastras, namely Chandra (Moon), Mangal (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn) and Surya (Sun). The shadow planets known as the chhaya graha are Rahu and Ketu. Neptune, Uranus and Pluto are more part of Western astrology.”Renowned astrologer Dharmendrasinh Zala explained: ‘‘Hindu shastras are not affected by these planets anyways, considering they have been found only in the last 100 years — Neptune (Prajapati), Uranus (Varun) and Pluto (Yamm). Since Pluto is the farthest from Earth, it also has as good as no effect on us which is why you have neither astro gem rings and stones nor mantras and predictions based on the planet Pluto in the birth chart. It does not impact horoscopes. I had predicted on November 28, 2001, about a new graha being born out of the Sun,’’ said Zala, showing newspaper and magazine clippings about his prediction that came true some months later. 

    ‘‘The planet went through Pluto and found its place behind it. July 2003 mein yeh graha Vruschik rashi aur Anuradha nakshatra ke beech mein pad gaya jisse ki Pluto mein upheavals aaye honge. And so while US astronomer Mike Brown calls it the UB313, it is the tenth planet, bigger than Earth. Being a dark planet, far from the Sun, Pluto is ineffective anyways. Besides, it is not a solid round and crosses by Neptune when it revolves round the Sun. It’s presence didn’t help us, the absence won’t either,’’ he added.

    Thanks for commenting . Do visit again. 🙂

    Thanks.Sir, kindly read my above comment where I have quoted some astrologers who have told our planetary system will not change.

    lol 😀 Yes, there were a few in m class like you who used to pass the ‘Drawing’ tests after drawing ‘Shiva when told to draw Ganesha’ coz they were good in Maths and Science! 😉

  17. rk Says:

    The New Indian Express dated August 26, 2006:

    Pluto’s demotion endorses ancient Indian treatises

    Indian astrologers today said that the announcement on dropping Pluto as a planet had endorsed the mathematical and astrological treatises written by Aryabhatta and Varahamihira centuries back.
    ‘‘Indian astrology did not include Pluto as a planet and the latest announcement by leading global astronomers, after a marathon week-long meeting at Prague yesterday, only endorsed the Indian mathematical astrology of Aryabhatta and Varahamihira during the sixth century,’’ eminent mathematical astrologer Mangal Prasad said.

    ‘‘Western astrology uses Pluto as a planet while Pluto was always out of Indian astrology and we do not use it in our calculations. This is the practice from the days of Aryabhatta and Varahamihira,’’ Prasad said.

    ‘‘Indian astrology is mathematically concerned with nine planets, two of which are rahu and ketu, which are nothing but derivatives from the diameter of earth, which is a circle having a value pi (22/7), embedded in the equator of earth,’’ he said.

    ‘‘This was discovered and mathematically shown by Aryabhatta and Varahamihira in the sixth century during the golden period of the Guptas,’’ said Prasad, the author of books based on the work of the two great sixth century scientists.

    Indian astrology is concerned more with astronomy and the derivations are from the equator of the earth, diameter of the moon, the solar year and how the planets are viewed in the northern latitudinal region during January and February, soon after the sun has crossed the Tropic of Capricon and moved towards the northern part of the hemisphere, he said.

    Meanwhile, leading astronomers decided to redefine Pluto as a ‘dwarf planet’.

    Experts said there could be dozens of dwarf planets catalogued across the solar system in the next few years. With the decision of astronomers to demote Pluto, a lot of science books will also have to be rewritten.

    The International Astronomical Union said in a statement that the definition for planet is now officially ‘‘a celestial body that orbits around the sun; has sufficient mass to become round; and has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.’’ But Pluto, on the other hand, was disqualified as its oblong orbit over laps with Neptune.

  18. rk Says:

    Girish Hampali says in Sanjay’s blog (Aug.28, 2006):

    amazing to see your site guru. I had thought you have multiple facets and the same is being showcased in your site.

  19. rk Says:

    thank you. 🙂

  20. ari4u Says:

    pluto is gone, but 3 more new planets are going to be added to the hood. Its a fair trade, giving up one, to get three new ones in return. What’s in a name anyway 🙂

    And oh, before i forget. I have you on my blogroll, but for some reason i dont see an update everytime you have a new post. Gangadhar is on wordpress too and i see his updates. Maybe you are not publishing your sitefeed?

  21. rk Says:

    in the ’80s, it was SHANTHI SAGAR. after renovation, it became NEW SHANTHI SAGAR. same way, our navagraha temples can put a board ” visit our NEW NAVAGRAHA TEMPLE on the 1st floor”! (just kidding)
    thanks for blogrolling this blog. as for ‘publishing your sitefeed’, will do that soon. cheers.

  22. ari4u Says:

    Okay, i see the blogroll show an update now. I had you in the roll for the last 2 months, it never showed an update for your wordpress blog. It works now. thanks!

  23. rk Says:

    wow! it worked… thanks to gangadhar who helped me in this ‘mega-project’! 😉

  24. Well done mate !This is what weve been waiting for, our own local Web two point oh gathering point. Im really looking forward to see our own breed of inovation.I really believe that we are far from short of resources, people with ideas and inovations or even skills. My guess is that, there isnt any mainstream forum where we can meet, virtually or physically. If there is one, not many people knows it.LCUK will hopefully change this. Once again, congrat looking forward for you post.

  25. Aryabhatta Says:

    A great mathematician. Without the inventions the world would be different.

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