IAU President and a small committee clandestinely and materially
changed the naming resolution, kept it secret from dissenting
members and the press, distributed the proposal just before the
vote, rebuffed dissenters and concluded with a show of hands without
an official count.
View the actual video of the
discussion leading to the vote is under the title column heading “Planet Definition, Closing Ceremony,
The vote was scheduled at the end of
a 10 day conference in Prague when almost everyone had left. Only
424 of nearly 10,000 members remained.
IAU President, Ronald d. Ekers,
opened the session stating that the IAU was asked to act on the
planet definition issue. He stressed that prior proposals were
delayed because cultural and popular issues needed to be
Ekers stated that this was not just
a scientific debate and that the issue cannot be resolved by science
alone. “This is not just a scientific issue of what is correct.
There is no correct answer to this question”.
“The question is what is a sensible
compromise that will not just work for the professionals in the
field but will work for everybody who is interested the sky, the
planets, is curious, is educating and so on”.
After Mr. Ekers and a panel member
read two overwhelmingly positive and zero dissenting messages from
colleagues on the pending resolutions he called for a show of hands
however; 15 IAU members stepped forward to speak. The first 14
speakers were dissenting, and generally cut of by Mr. Ekers. The
contentious and angry dissention included not being properly
consulted and receiving the changed resolutions just now as entering
The response from Ekers; “the
last step of the proposals was done in secret to keep them from the
press.” It seems that a lot of people were interested in this
outcome and were getting in the way of the desired outcome of the
These IAU members strongly dissented
stating that the decision to vote was rushed, more debate needs to
take place, the vote should be postponed and that “what was being
presented was an insult to the entire astronomical
The 15th and final speaker was
recognized and stated that he was no scientist but that he wanted to
say that the committee was doing a great job.
There is a movement by prominent
scientists to meet mid 2007 to organize an electronic vote by the
goal is to support this movement and record and submit 1,000,000 support votes to the IAU during their next full membership global meeting. This vote will demonstrate the global, cultural and popular desire for an electronic vote of the entire IAU body on the issue of Pluto’s planetary status.