So despite the announcement yesterday, reliable sources tell me that some members of the astronomy community are hoping that there is still maybe a small window of opportunity for Pluto.
Some members of the community are preparing a petition which protests the IAU planet definition! They don’t agree with the decision, and point out that a rather small percentage of the astronomical community actually voted at the Prague IAU. They give the following additional reasons for their questioning of the decision:
… for a definition of ‘planet’ that uses dynamics (location) rather than intrinsic properties to decide if an object is or is not a planet. This result is counter to other classification schemes in astronomy (e.g., stars, galaxies, nebulae, even asteroids) in which dynamical context does not play a controlling role. Furthermore, it produces results that are incongruous and cannot be extended within our own solar system or to extra-solar planetary systems without producing immediate results that are patently absurd: e.g., a Neptune-sized object discovered beyond 150 AU could not be a planet, the presence of an Earth orbiting its star between a Jupiter and a Saturn would mean the Earth could not be considered a planet since it could not clear its “neighborhood”. This definition also excludes Pluto from planethood in our solar system, something that is both scientifically questionable and publicly problematic. Both Pluto and a distant Neptune would be classified as a “dwarf planet”, which is not to be considered a subcategory of “planet”.
The petition is to be among the community only, so I will not give you details about how to sign it. Also, I don’t know if I have permission to reveal the names of the people who put forward the petition, so I will not do that, at least until I know more.
This is rather unexpected and quite interesting, I hope you agree.