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Illinois restores Pluto's planetary status

13 March is Pluto Day, senate declares

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The State of Illinois has decided it's unhappy with Pluto's 2006 expulsion from the league of planets and has decreed that as it "passes overhead through Illinois' night skies, that it be reestablished with full planetary status".

In case you're wondering why Illinois wants to mix it up with the International Astronomical Union - the body responsible for Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet, or "plutoid" - the senate resolution notes that "Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of the planet Pluto, was born on a farm near the Illinois community of Streator".

The resolution (pdf) continues: "Dr Tombaugh is so far the only Illinoisan and only American to ever discover a planet."

Well, this assertion has caused a few raised eyebrows across the internet, since Americans have been discovering exoplanets in their droves for quite a few years. A minor detail, though, because Illinois clearly feels local pride has been dented by the by the IAA vote "in which only four per cent of the International Astronomical Union's 10,000 scientists participated".

Accordingly, the senates has declared that "March 13, 2009 be declared 'Pluto Day' in the State of Illinois in honor of the date its discovery was announced in 1930". ®

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