Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eris Anniversary

Four years ago today the discovery of dwarf planet Eris was announced. Eris was found using Palomar's Samuel Oschin Telescope. Of course back then it didn't even have a proper name. Eris helped to push the issue of Pluto's planetary status forward and nearly three years ago the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided to create the new dwarf planet category and put both Pluto and Eris into to it (along with the asteroid Ceres).

The IAU meets again this summer. While the issue of Pluto may not come up again there, it certainly hasn't gone away. NewScientist has as story Is Pluto a planet after all? that is worth reading if you are interested in this issue.

Also Mike Brown, the discoverer of Eris, has some book reviews on his blog that cover the events related to the whole dwarf planet / Pluto issue. Click on over to see what he has to say about The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and The Hunt for Planet X: New Worlds and the Fate of Pluto by Govert Schillng. Both books are on my reading list, but I haven't gotten around to them yet.

1 comment:

Mike Brown said...

Sadly, I totally overlooked that anniversary, as I was flying to Rio for the IAU to make sure that Eris and Pluto remain, appropriately, dwarf planets.