Professor Michal Simon
Department of Physics and Astronomy
7:30 pm Room 001 ESS Building
Friday, October 5, 2007

Is Pluto a Planet?

Pluto has long been understood to be a misfit as a planet among its giant planet neighbors. The possibility of better understandingits nature arrived with the discovery of the Kuiper Belt Objects in the mid-1990's. Pluto's status came to a head with discoveries of Kuiper Belt Objects sharing Pluto's characteristics and the vote in 2006 of the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union to declassify Pluto as one of the 9 classical planets. The vote engendered a surprisingly strong response from astronomers and the public alike.

In the next of the popular series Astronomy Open Night, Prof. Michal Simon will present the arguments for and against the decision to declassify Pluto. In the process he will address the larger question ``What is a Planet (Anyway)?", which is still being debated by the astronomical community.

Prof. Simon has been teaching and doing research in Astronomy at Stony Brook for 38 years and is one of the facutly members who founded Astronomy Open Night. His current interests include low mass and very young stars and binary systems. He lives with his family in Old Field.