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MSRAL 2006 Convention

SLAS Regular Meeting
Friday, July 17, 2015 7:30pm
McDonnell Hall, Washington University

What Makes A Planet A Planet?
Dr. Pamela L. Gay

Dr. Pamela Gay will be featured at the July meeting of the St. Louis Astronomical Society. The meeting will begin at 7:30 PM Friday, July 17, in McDonnell Hall, Room 362, on the Washington University campus, Saint Louis, MO 63130. McDonnell Hall is accessible from Forsyth Boulevard via Tolman Way.
In 2006, a group of astronomers attending a meeting of the International Astronomical Union voted to change the definitions of "planet" and "dwarf planet". As a result, Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status. Ever since, people have been debating the new definitions and the new criteria for the designation "planet". To complicate matters, since the turn of the century about a half dozen extremely remote ice worlds, some about the size of Pluto, have been discovered and designated to be dwarf planets. Dr. Gay will talk about what makes a planet a planet and how some astronomers wish to change the 2006 definition. She will also discuss some of the small worlds scattered around our solar system and the smaller planets now being detected around other stars.

Dr. Pamela Gay is an Assistant Research Professor in the Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Research, Education, and Outreach of Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. She is an astronomer, writer, and podcaster focused on the use of media to engage people in science and technology. Together with Fraser Cain, editor of the Universe Today astronomy news website, Dr. Gay produces Astronomy Cast, a weekly podcast that provides a discussion of astronomical topics, from planets to cosmology.



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