Archive by category | International Astronomical Union

IAU: planet status update

Today’s the day on which astronomers will decide whether or not the world gets a new definition of planet. The final text of the resolution — to be voted on this afternoon at the meeting’s closing ceremony — is posted in today’s edition of the conference newspaper, Nuncio Sidereo III. It is preceded, after a turbulent week of revisions, by the warning: “only minor corrections can be accommodated at this stage”.  Read more

IAU: Pluto not a planet after all?

By 5.30pm local time in Prague (GMT+2), we were on version three of the planet definition. A second discussion had been scheduled, after lunchtime saw vociferous opposition to version two (which I blogged about here). A crowd gathered outside the designated room.  Read more

IAU: supernova cake

Oh goodness, I’m disappointed I missed this. Scroll down to the last item. It recounts how, last week, cake was served to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of a supernova that went off in 1006 AD, the brightest in recorded history. I love cake. And this one had a picture of a supernova remnant in icing. How briliant!  Read more

IAU: What’s the Universe made of?

A ‘cosmic stocktake’ announced today at the IAU in Prague estimates that about 20% of the ordinary matter in the Universe has been ‘used up’ by being turned into such things as stars, planets and black holes. The rest resides in the enormous gas clouds that envelop old galaxies and can become the birth places of new galaxies.  Read more