Just nine planets for now sign now

On August 24th 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly will take a vote on a resolution that, if passed, will enlarge the definition of the word 'planet' to engulf some of the celestial bodies that today are called 'minor planets' or 'planetoids'.
This will result in the jump of the number of 'planets' of our Solar system from 9 to 12, allowing, in time, the increase of this number, by the eventual discovery of other bodies within the boundaries of our Solar system that would fit the template which is being set by this resolution.
Although a resolution concerning such a subject is, by all means, a salutary initiative of the IAU, we believe that the direction taken and the timing of it are inappropriate.
We, the signatories of this petition, consider this resolution at this time inappropriate (and such until future observations and research on eventual multiple exoplanets star systems would provide further information - among others, a confirmation or not of the observation known as the Titius-Bode Law), and consider the term 'planet' as referring to (in regard of our Solar system) what are now considered to be the 'classical planets', i.e. Mercury through Neptune, and Pluto. In a more general approach, we consider the term 'planet' as referring to a celestial body which evidence, research and observation, shows that has been born and has evolved from and within the protoplanetary disk of a star, and has "sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and is [or has been] in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet." (as quoted from IAU).
In brief, we do not find this IAU innitiative aproppriate at this moment.

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Rebecca AshleyBy:
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International Astronomical Union

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