Monday, March 12, 2007

New Mexico Fights To Protect Pluto's Planetary Status

Above - Astromomy picture of the day

In this report: Joint House Memorial 54 was introduced by representative Joni Marie Gutierrez, who represents Dona Ana County. It states that Pluto, the recently demoted object, "be declared a planet and that March 13, 2007 be declared 'Pluto Planet Day' at the legislature.

Here is the declaration:
WHEREAS, the state of New Mexico is a global center for astronomy, astrophysics and planetary science; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico is home to world class astronomical observing facilities, such as the Apache Point observatory, the very large array, the Magdalena Ridge observatory and the national solar observatory; and

WHEREAS, Apache Point observatory, operated by New Mexico state university, houses the astrophysical research consortium's three-and-one-half meter telescope, as well as the unique two-and-one-half meter diameter Sloan digital sky survey telescope; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico state university has the state's only independent, doctorate-granting astronomy department; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico state university and Dona Ana county were the longtime home of Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto; and

WHEREAS, Pluto has been recognized as a planet for seventy-five years; and

WHEREAS, Pluto's average orbit is three billion six hundred ninety-five million nine hundred fifty thousand miles from the sun, and its diameter is approximately one thousand four hundred twenty-one miles; and

WHEREAS, Pluto has three moons known as Charon, Nix and Hydra; and

WHEREAS, a spacecraft called new horizons was launched in January 2006 to explore Pluto in the year 2015;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that, as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet and that March 13, 2007 be declared "Pluto Planet Day" at the legislature.
I kinda like the idea, because I like Pluto as a planet, but doesn't the New Mexico legislature have more pressing issues?


Tamara said...

My thoughts exactly LOL.

Dana said...

Let's see...if this kind of thing is all they get around to, NM citizens will probably be better off.

But I don't think the state can decide what is or is not in any particular scientific classification. It brings back eery memories of the Church condemning Gallileo. And what will this do scientific inquiry and debate?

Laws should be made to regulate behaviors, not thoughts and beliefs.

Stephen Mendelsohn said...


Better they waste time arguing about Pluto's planetary status than passing intrusive legislation forcing Gardasil on sixth-grade girls, which Governor Bill Richardson will soon sign into law.