International Astronomical Union: February A 'Dwarf Month'

Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy posted this terrific piece that started off my Saturday with a smile.  It reads like The Onion, though I also can't find the original source. Take a look and see if you agree that author Michael Haber might be onto something...

Emboldened by their success in declaring Pluto not a
planet, the International Astronomical Union determined this week by a
close vote that February is too short to be considered a true month. It
has, however, been granted the newly created status of "dwarf month."
It shares this dubious distinction with several other calendar time
spans, including Labor Day Weekend, Christmas Vacation, and the Time
Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You
Actually Did.

"It only seems fair," said IAU President Ron Eckers. "February
reaches a peak size of 29 days, averaging only 28 days for 75 percent
of the time. Recent research has shown that other periods, such as the
Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When
You Actually Did, often exceed this meager time frame. In fact, this
erratic behavior only strengthens our case that February does not
belong in the same classification as the eleven 'true' months."

Eckers also warned that the crop of 30-day "so-called" months should
be careful to maintain their number of days. "They're already cutting
it pretty close in my book."

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This kind of mockery just shows how much the IAU risked by demoting Pluto--especially as it was hardly an astronomical consensus that this ought to be done.

I've never understood the big ado about Pluto. It was either demote Pluto or recognize dozens of new planets. I'd prefer 8 over dozens myself. I doubt Pluto would ever have been called a planet if it weren't for the quirk of history that lead to it being discovered several decades before others of its kind.

The IAU deserves every bit of mockery it gets. Anyone who watches the 2006 planet definition session (the video is on the IAU's web site) can see what a circus this session was. The definition adopted violated the IAU's bylaws, which prohibit the introduction of a new resolution in real time before it has been vetted by the appropriate committee. It also makes no sense in saying that dwarf planets are not planets at all, which is inconistent with the use of the term "dwarf" in astronomy, where dwarf stars are still stars, and dwarf galaxies are still galaxies. And it classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto's orbit, according to the IAU definition, it would not be a planet either. Any definition that takes the same object and makes it a planet in one location and not a planet in another location is one that begs to be overturned.