Wednesday, October 29, 2008

formerly known as the "ninth planet"

Softening the blow of IAU's 2006 decision to strip Pluto of its planet status, an IAU committee, "has suggested that small, nearly spherical objects orbiting beyond Neptune should carry the "plutoid" tag", reported the BBC recently. Pluto is now a "dwarf planet", along with other solar system bodies like Ceres (who got promoted from asteroid), and recently discovered Eris, Haumea, and Makemake.
Many people are still fuming at IAU for Pluto's demotion and were not satisfied with the "plutoid" consolation. Among them is Alan Stern, the principal investigator of New Horizons, the NASA mission to Pluto, launched in 2006, and scheduled to arrive in 2015. Said, Alan Stern: "It's just some people in a smoke-filled room who dreamed it up," he told the Associated Press. "Plutoids or haemorrhoids, whatever they call it. This is irrelevant."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Seeing red...

My red-claw shrimp (Macrobrachium sp.) died yesterday, one and a half year after I got it. It was one of the liveliest inhabitants of my aquarium, always interesting to observe, especially when feeding - it had a huge appetite - or when it was chasing the fish away. I have to get a new one as soon as possible! This photo was taken last fall.