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New York planetarium usurps IAU, demotes Pluto
Posted: Mon, Jan 22, 2001, 2:10 PM ET (1910 GMT)
We know that the stereotypical New Yorker is supposed to be pushy, but really! Monday's New York Times reported that the new Rose Center for Earth and Space, part of the city's American Museum of Natural History, has quietly removed Pluto from the pantheon of the planets, lumping it with the Kuiper Belt of icy objects in the outer solar system. While Pluto does share many characteristics with KBOs -- and yet may be reclassified as one -- the decision flies in the face of the astronomy mainstream that still classifies Pluto as a planet. The International Astronomical Union, the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not a planet, decided two years ago to retain Pluto's planet status after a minor controversy. Other science museums, including Chicago's Adler Planetarium and a new space science center at Denver's Museum of Nature and Science, have no plans to join the Rose Center in reclassifying Pluto prematurely and/or incorrectly.
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