Aug 27 2007, 08:51 PM
I bought two books on the planets for my son, and I was surprised to see that they had already made comment on Pluto's "demotion". It looks like they added comments to note the demotion, but didn't redesign most of the tables and all-planet montages that would be costlier to update. I was surprised by the speed with which the demotion made it into kids' books, since they seem to be only partially up to date in other ways.
It's also worth noting that neither of the books mention the Galileans or other satellites in any way beside Earth's Moon. So on some level, it does matter what category an object is placed in. Uranus gets a two-page spread while Io, Europa, and Titan are not even noted to exist. Wow!
Aug 29 2007, 06:02 AM
The 2nd edition of the "Encyclopedia of the Solar System
" explicitly mentions the new official IAU line (with apparently only Alan Stern prepared to offer a dissenting view: in his article on Pluto). According to Amazon, the 2nd edition of the EotSS was published in December 2006 so I guess the editors must have decided to go with the IAU definition pretty much as soon as the IAU announced it.
Sep 3 2007, 10:45 PM
I believe Pluto will prevail, and I have made sure to buy my four-year-old nephew books about the solar system that include Pluto. There are many still around. I plan to buy him a children's model of the solar system that also includes Pluto, which I have seen recently at a local toy store. If there were some that also included Eris and Ceres, I would prefer those. We should be broadening, not narrowing, our definition of planet as we learn about more and more types of planets of which we previously never conceived. Changing books and models to only eight is a tremendous disservice to children because it effectively expunges Pluto from the "record" that informs their awareness of the solar system. For that same reason, I am also teaching my nephew about Eris, that it's a new planet that hasn't made it into the books yet because it has been recently discovered. In the long term, I believe that Pluto's demotion will be overturned and that a broader, more inclusive definition of planet will be adopted, whether by the IAU or by a larger consensus of astronomers.