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Friday, February 02, 2007

Earth declared not to be a planet!

According to the International Astronomical Union, in their decision to declare that Pluto is no longer a planet, a planet is an astronomical body in the Solar System that has cleared its orbit.

Imagine their surprise when Bob Summerfield, founder of a nonprofit astronomical society in Pennsylvania, reminded them that Earth has also not cleared its orbit.

"Ach du lieber!" responded IAU President Catherine J. Cesarsky, who promptly called together the Executive body of the IAU for an emergency session. They swiftly released a statement to clarify the situation.

"As of January 30th, 2007, at 10:50 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time, just as soon as we got the telegram, Earth is no longer classified as a planet, but instead shall now be referred to as an 'interstellar thingy.'" Then they all went out for drinks.

An IAU Associate member explained the situation on condition of anonymity. "Ist really quvite embarazzing. Ve came up with dat definition in order to reclazzify Pluto, but everyvone of us should have remembered dat Die Earth vails to meet der criteria for planetary clazzivication as vell," She said in a thick German accent. "I guess dis vill teach us to serve alcohol at die conventions!" she added with a soused giggle.

The reaction was mixed. Organizers of "Save the Planet" contemplated changing the name of the group to "Save the Interstellar Thingy" but finally settled on "Save the Thingy." School teacher Donna Governor of Cumming, Georgia said, "I've been saying Pluto's not a planet for years but to find out that Earth isn't either... I guess it just goes to show what a dunderhead I am!" She was then pelted with erasers by her students.

NASA issued a press release indicating that they didn't know what the hell to do and so they would continue sending up space shuttles, International Space Station missions, and other busy work, and ignore the IAU until sober heads took over the leadership. They indicated that could take years.

"At least Mars is still a planet," said Claus Van Shindershoss, "of NASA's research wing. "At least until they find out about all those asteroids nearby."


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