Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2006 12:32:58 -0500
Subject: DPS Mailing #06-24:  DPS Election Results...
Greetings, DPS members,
  1)  2006 DPS Election Results
  2)  DPS Press Release on Redefinition of a Planet
  3)  Upcoming Workshops and Meetings
Voting in the 2006 DPS election ended August 1, although the final tally 
of the votes had to await the Secretary's return from travel to count 
paper ballots.  The vast majority of members who voted did so online, 
making the first online election a success.
Many thanks to all the candidates for their willingness to serve the DPS, 
and to all who voted.
Congratulations to those elected:
Vice-Chair:  S. Alan Stern
Committee:  Athena Coustenis and Adam Showman
DPS PRESS RELEASE (Released 16 August 2006)
"Planetary Scientists Support Proposed Redefinition of a Planet"
Recent discoveries of objects in the outer reaches of our Solar System 
have forced scientists to reconsider what it means to be a planet. 
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has proposed a new definition 
of a planet as a celestial body whose gravity is strong enough for it to 
be nearly round in shape and which is in orbit around a star but is 
itself neither a star nor a satellite of a planet. According to 
this definition, the nine traditional planets in our Solar System would 
be joined by Ceres (the largest of the asteroids), by Charon (Pluto's 
largest moon), and by 2003 UB313 (the provisional name for a 
recently discovered object larger and more distant from the Sun than 
Pluto). Pluto and Charon would be regarded as a double planet, rather than 
as a planet and satellite, because their center of gravity lies outside 
of Pluto itself (the only such case known in our Solar System.)  There is 
a candidate list of additional objects that may be large enough to qualify 
as planets, subject to confirmation by the IAU.
The IAU resolution also recognizes Pluto as the prototype of a new class 
of planetary objects to be known as "plutons." In contrast to the 
classical planets, plutons typically have quite non-circular orbits and 
take more than 200 years to orbit the Sun. With increasingly sensitive 
and broad searches of the outer solar system well underway, it is 
quite likely that additional Pluto-like planets will be discovered.
The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical 
Society is the world's largest international professional society of 
planetary scientists. The DPS Committee, elected by our membership, 
strongly supports the IAU resolution. It was proposed after two years of 
careful review by an international panel of expert planetary 
scientists, followed by a broadly representative international group 
of historians, writers, and scientists. The new definition is clear 
and compact, it is firmly based on the physical properties of 
celestial objects themselves, and it is applicable to planets found 
around other stars. It opens the possibility for many new Pluto-like 
planets to be discovered in our Solar System.
The proposed definition will be brought to the IAU General Assembly 
for a vote on August 24, 2006. As representatives of an 
international community of planetary scientists, we urge that the 
resolution be approved.
Dr. Richard G. French
Chair, DPS Committee
1)  AGU Kuiper-Belt Session (December, 2006)
Announcing a special session on Kuiper belt objects to be held at 
the American Geophysical Union's December meeting in San Francisco.  
DPS members with an interest in contributing are encouraged to submit 
an abstract by the 7 September 2006 deadline.  The web page at
has both a session description and an abstract submission link.  We hope 
to see many DPS members in San Francisco in December for an exciting 
exchange of research results on KBOs.
 The Session Conveners,
  Reggie Hudson, Eckerd College, Florida (hudsonrl @
  Marla Moore, NASA Goddard (marla.h.moore @
  John Cooper, NASA Goddard (John.F.Cooper @
An afternoon workshop on the formation, evolution, and composition of 
the satellite systems of the outer planets and Kuiper Belt objects will 
be held on Sunday, October 8, in conjunction with the 38th DPS meeting.  
Confirmed speakers at this writing are D. Stevenson, G. Schubert, 
B. Buratti , T. Johnson, R. Sari, I. Mosqueira, D. Matson, F. Nimmo, and 
P. Estrada.
The Org. Comm.:  Paul R. Estrada, Dale Cruikshank, Jack Lissauer, Tobias Owen
Dear Colleagues,
We would like to remind you that several deadlines for the Belton 
Symposium that will be held November 10 & 11 in Tucson, AZ are coming up:
Abstract Submission Deadline: August 31, 2006
Early Registration Deadline : September 15, 2006
After this deadline the registration fee will increase.  For registration 
and details see
Send submissions (no attachments, please) to:
Linda French Emmons, DPS Secretary (lfrench @
Department of Physics
Illinois Wesleyan University
P. O. Box 2900
Bloomington, IL 61702