The Pluto Controversy

Over the summer of 2006, there was an explosion of interest in Pluto, driven by the deliberations of the International Astronomical Union on the definition of planets. The final decision to demote Pluto to the status of a "dwarf planet" overturned an earlier proposal which would have kept Pluto and "upgraded" several other objects to planetary status. Additional details can be found from wikipedia and from the leader of the team that discovered Eris. There was an enormous amount of commentary, including op-eds, extended discussions on astroblogs (see also here), petitions, resolutions, and general foolishness. But regardless of what we call Pluto, in just over 8 years time we'll know a lot more about it when the New Horizons spacecraft arrives at Pluto.