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November 7th, 2009

Binghamton Weekend

In about an hour I head off to Binghamton, NY to give a couple of talks to the Kopernik Observatory, an amateur astronomy group that meets in the Polish Cultural Center (and at their own observatory nearby). Alas, the weather has stripped most of the color from the trees but other than that it should be a pleasant drive -- unlike yesterday, when it was snowing here. My topics will be "The Heavens Proclaim" (basically a slide show of the pretty pictures from our book) and "Is Pluto a Planet -- And Why Does It Matter" which is an old standby.

I used to be defensive about my role in the Pluto "demotion" -- I had originally argued and voted against the IAU decision, but then as an officer of Commission 16, Planets and Moons, it was my job to explain and defend it. (And having lived with it for three years I actually think now we made the right choice.) Finally I got tired of all the ill-informed grief I was getting, and now my attitude when people accuse me of maligning poor little Pluto is to cackle with glee and insist, "Yes, I killed Pluto -- and I'd do it again! Ha-ha-ha!"

After all, how often does one get to use that mad-scientist chortle that we worked so hard to perfect when we were graduate students?

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brotherguy
brotherguy

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