Poor Pluto

Pluto is dead,” said Mike Brown, a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology who spoke with reporters via a teleconference while monitoring the vote.

The vote involved just 424 astronomers who remained for the last day of a meeting of the International Astronomical Union in Prague.

“I’m embarrassed for astronomy. Less than 5 percent of the world’s astronomers voted,” said Alan Stern, leader of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute.

Stern called it “absurd” that only 424 astronomers were allowed to vote, out of about 10,000 professional astronomers around the globe.

“It won’t stand,” he said. “It’s a farce.”

Stern said astronomers are already circulating a petition that would try to overturn the IAU decision.

You tell ’em, Mr. Stern!

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