It’s official…

Pluto is not a planet any more. Apparently, size does matter.

About time, too. Pluto lacks the basic characteristics of the other planets–or, at least, it looks a whole lot more like a bunch of other debris orbiting around beyond Neptune.

People have always gotten Pluto wrong since the get-go. When i was in grade school, I remember a mechanical model of the solar system we had in my science class, with a light bulb for the sun and little metal balls for all the planets. They were all linked together and geared so that the planets whirled around the sun when you spun the whole gizmo.

Problem was, it showed Pluto’s orbit as circular and in the same plane as the other planets. Even at eight years old, I knew that was wrong. Later, when I was in high school, I successfully trapped my science teacher by asking him to name the planets in order from the sun. He recited the familiar liturgy–Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. However, Pluto’s highly erratic orbit takes it inside that of Neptune; at the time, it went Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto, Neptune.

And now, finally, saner heads have prevailed and the world’s astronomers have decided that Pluto is not a planet after all. Which is good; allowing Pluto as a planet would mean allowing a half-dozen other rocky bodies–or more!–as planets, too.

The only real question left, at this point, is the most important one: how will this news affect the box office receipts for Snakes on a Plane?