Staff Reporter

Its relegation from the planet status may force planetariums to change their presentations. Even textbooks have to be rewritten

HYDERABAD: Following the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) decision to strip Pluto off its planet status, institutions such as the city-based B.M.Birla Planetarium might end up having to incorporate small changes to their presentations.

At a meeting on Thursday, the IAU assembly shrunk the list of planets from nine to eight after deciding to exclude Pluto as its status was contested by astronomers on grounds of size and orbit. The move could also call for a major rewriting of textbooks.

`In dispute'

The Birla Science Centre Director B.G.Sidharth says they might go in for a small change in future presentations and state that, `Pluto was till recently considered to be ninth planet of solar system but now it's status is in dispute'.

The vote in the assembly to remove Pluto from the planet list was not unanimous but followed a majority vote, he says adding, "in the given circumstance, some might continue to refer it as the ninth planet".

The planetarium will run its presentations for some time describing the distant object in Kuiper Belt as one whose status was in dispute.

Next move

"Disagreements and disputes in the community of astronomers are going to be there on the IAU move. Based on popular acceptance we will consider the next move," Dr. Sidharth says.

The literature on astronomy also might need to be redrafted.

"If the Government decides to accept the IAU resolution, which it might, then the exercise will have to be taken up," he adds.