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Petition Protesting the IAU Planet Definition
SIGNATURES (Final - August 30, 2006 6 AM PST) [PDF]
POST-PETITION PRESS RELEASE (August 31, 2006)
The petition is now closed.
Sufficient signatures from planetary scientists and astronomers have been gathered to bring into serious question the definition for planet adopted by the IAU as fundamentally flawed, as was the process by which it was generated.
The list of signatories have studied every planet in the solar system, asteroids, comets, the Kuiper Belt, and planet interactions with space environment. They have been involved in the robotic exploration of the solar system from some of the earliest missions to Cassini/Huygens, the missions to Mars, ongoing missions to the innermost and outermost reaches of our solar system, and are leading missions preparing to be launched. The list includes prominent experts in the field of planet formation and evolution, planetary atmospheres, planetary surfaces and interiors, and includes international prize winning researchers.
The IAU is incapable of correcting this action until its next General Assembly in 2009. In the meantime, the IAU definition will stand as a source of confusion and incongruity to educators and the public. An alternative is needed.
Planning is underway to establish an open and inclusive grass-roots process by which planetary scientists and astronomers from around the world can approach a better resolution to the issue of planets in our own solar system and elsewhere, with every step and discussion in public view. This process should culminate in a conference, not to determine a winner, but to acknowledge a consensus.
The discussion will be wide ranging and should offer the public a fascinating and educational view of scientific discourse on a topic to which they can all relate.
A further announcement will be made in September from the initial sponsoring institutions.
Southwest Research Institute