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Girl Who Named Pluto, At 11, Dies At 90

Venetia Phair, who was 11 years old when she suggested Pluto as the name of the newly discovered planet, has died in England. She was 90. Phair suggested the name to her grandfather at breakfast in 1930. An asteroid discovered in 1987 was named in her honor: 6235 Burney. Full Story : LAtimes.com…….


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  1. It should be noted that the IAU’s controversial demotion of Pluto is very likely not the last word on the subject and in fact represents only one interpretation in an ongoing debate. Only four percent of the IAU voted on this, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. Stern and like-minded scientists favor a broader planet definition that includes any non-self-luminous spheroidal body in orbit around a star. The spherical part is important because objects become spherical when they attain a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium, meaning they are large enough for their own gravity to pull them into a round shape. This is a characteristic of planets and not of shapeless asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects. Pluto meets this criterion and is therefore a planet.