The General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) met in Prague from 14th to 24th August 2006 to agree on the definition of the word “planet”. From the 17th, a rumour, distilled by the astronomers themselves, spread, according to which the IAU was preparing to increase the number of planets in the solar system from 9 to 12. But on 24th August, a dramatic turn of events and thunder: Pluto having been stripped of its former status, there were only 8 official planets left.
This A.G. had in fact only one purpose: to determine according to which criteria to include or exclude Pluto from the planetary procession. Until 22nd August, there seemed to be a consensus around two criteria. The planets would be stars:
▶ 1) orbiting a star, but not a star;
▶ 2) sufficiently massive so that the effect of their own gravity gives them a spherical envelope.
This arbitrary definition allowed to include Pluto, Ceres, Xena and Charon in the procession of the official planets… but also, later, other transplutonian celestial bodies, such as Sedna or Varuna, orbiting in the Kuiper belt. If the “planetization” of Xena (slightly larger than Pluto) could at the limit be understood, those of Ceres and Charon made many astronomers wince.
If we “planetized” Ceres, why not also Pallas and Vesta, which also belong to the asteroid belt orbiting between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter? Because they are not spherical enough, some have suggested. They are almost as much as Ceres, but probably not enough: we are already in full “rigor” scientist. Some participants, embarrassed at the corners, then proposed that only the stars corresponding to the two criteria above and having a duration of sidereal revolution greater than that of Pluto should be newly “planetizable”: a bastard solution which made it possible to solve the Ceres problem by excluding it.
About the “planetization” of Charon is another problem: Charon is a true-false satellite of Pluto, since the center of gravity of the Charon-Pluto system is located outside the latter. As a result, the Pluto-Charon duo can be considered as a double planet, especially since Charon is relatively large (1207 in diameter against 2390 for Pluto). But is a double-planet still a planet, some wondered?
In short, the astronomers pedaled in a hell of a sauerkraut. This is why on 24th August 2006, the definition changed; the one that was proposed is the following, based on three points. An astral body was now an official planet:
▶ 1) if it was in orbit around a star, without however being a star;
▶ 2) if it was massive enough for the effect of its own gravity to give it a spherical envelope;
▶ 3) if he dominated his environment by having “cleared the neighborhood around its orbit” (a concept that has remained obscure and mysterious) — which is not the case with Pluto-Charon, Ceres and Xena.
This definition, just as arbitrary as the first, made it possible to exclude Pluto, Charon, Ceres and Xena (and a maximum of transplutonians, in principle…) from the procession of the classical planets, by creating a new category for them: that of “dwarf planets”.
All the other criteria defining celestial bodies orbiting around a star, such as distances to perihelion and aphelion, semi-major axis, average density, sidereal revolution duration (although this criterion was very briefly mentioned in Prague: in “the periods exceed 200 years. Of course, Pluto serves and will serve as a reference for this new category”), speed, radius, surface gravity, inclination of the star on its orbit, inclination of this orbit on the ecliptic plane, etc., were not taken into account. For what? Because the choice of criteria by the UAI is purely arbitrary, a nominalist simplification and not a rigorous scientific approach, that’s all.
And if it was only that… But it’s even worse! All sorts of completely unscientific arguments have been used in this daggers drawn struggle to include or exclude Pluto. Mind-blowing anthology:
André Brahic, astronomer: “From the start, a controversy opposed us: I refused that the meeting take place in an Anglo-Saxon country. The working language was in English, the documents were in English… that was enough. I suggested either Paris or Tokyo. And the meeting took place in Paris, on 30th June, in the greatest secrecy. So we arrived very nervous but very quickly, and it was the great interest to set up this meeting in Paris, French gastronomy and especially Pomerol warmed the atmosphere. And brought our points of view closer […] For me, Pluto is not a planet but an asteroid. But as the others did not all agree, a solution had to be found. So the idea came to us to do as in the world of work when someone gets in the way, give him a promotion. So we gave Pluto a promotion by changing its name to a generic name.”
Linguistic chauvinism and binge drinking would they be partially at the origin of the exclusion of Pluto? In any case, the Anglo-Saxons also had their share of chauvinistic nationalism: “The committee had to take into account the historic shock that the removal of Pluto from the list of planets would have caused. It is the only planet discovered by an American, which added a political touch to the debate […] Not to mention that its downgrading would automatically cause that of the New Horizon mission, named after the probe launched from the United States in 2004 in the purpose of exploring the ultimate ‘planet’ of the solar system.”
Let’s also not forget that “For Owen Gingerich, the chairman of the IAU commission responsible for defining a planet, the debates have been particularly complicated by the fact that Pluto “has a huge fan club among astronomers”.” A very huge and very scientific fan-club that lost in the end, perhaps the victim of a simple dash and a banal linguistic quarrel: “At the center of the debate: dwarf planets (‘dwarf planets’ in English, the working language of scientists). The text, on which the 2,500 astronomers present seemed to have reached the beginning of a consensus, spoke of ‘dwarf-planets’ with a hyphen. But the hyphen has been dropped. Scientists did not want to introduce confusion that dwarf planets could be mistaken for planets.”
Final problem: “the UAI definition applies only to the solar system, to the great regret of those who would have liked a concept applying to the many planets (we have found nearly 200 to date) that we discover now regularly around stars other than our Sun.”
Some, more lucid than others, were worried:
“The IAU leadership’s original plan, which caused intense media interest last week, was to expand the solar system to 12 planets: the 8 ‘true’ planets, plus the 3 dwarfs, plus Charon, which remains confined to its current status as the moon of Pluto. All these debates, which have been reported in the media for two weeks, give astronomers the image of confused and capricious individuals, and the final vote, which was done by a show of hands, seems very unscientific.” British astronomer Michael Rowan-Robinson also regretted that a draft resolution had been circulated simultaneously to the media and scientists, fearing that it would make astronomers look like “perfect idiots” in public opinion. Too late, it’s done!
Patrick Michel, astronomer at the Côte d’Azur Observatory in Nice, and active promoter of an eight-planet system at the Prague meeting: “From a scientific point of view, this new definition changes absolutely nothing. It is only important from a political and cultural point of view.”
Thomas Widemann, astronomer at the Paris-Meudon Observatory, Pluto specialist: “I am sad for Pluto. I was also making myself a joy to include Ceres in the bestiary of the planets of the solar system! Too bad. But the question of the status of Pluto, planet or no planet, has come up regularly for a few years. I think it’s also absurd to ask a botanist to distinguish between a shrub and a tree. What matters is the diversity of the thousands of different bodies that populate the solar system, planets, asteroids, comets and transneptunians.”
24th August 2006 in Prague: it was exactly 15:33 when Pluto was definitively excluded from the planetary procession during the 26th general assembly of the UAI: “so many hands waving the yellow ballot were raised to approve the resolution that it was not necessary to precisely count the ‘for’ and ‘against’. At 15:54, the same voters rejected amendment 5b, which proposed to add the qualifier ‘classic’ before the term planet. Just before this second vote, the famous astronomer Jocelyn Bell, in charge of moderating the debate before an assembly of several hundred members, specified that: ‘This semantic modification which may seem minor is nevertheless of great importance. If “planet” is preceded by the term “classical”, it will mean that we have not three distinct categories of objects — planets, dwarf planets and small bodies of the solar system — but only two, — planets divided between the classics and the dwarfs — and the small bodies of the solar system.’ After this reminder, the members heard the short argument of Rick Binzel (one of the ‘6 wise men’) and that of the Englishman Mark Bailey, respectively for and against amendment 5b. Again, the result was so clear (and the applause so loud) that an accurate count of voters was not necessary. ‘Today is a historic day’, Rick Binzel said at a press conference around 18:00. ‘Humanity finally has a definition of planet other than the term “wandering star” proposed by the ancient Greeks.’ ”
Loud applause, uncounted show of hands, yellow cards: we are in the midst of Objective, Measuring and Experimental Science. Pluto still got a moving consolation prize:
“If, on this historic day, Pluto lost its place in the planetary procession, it is not relegated to the rank of ‘small body of the solar system’. Like all objects revolving around the sun massive enough to be spherical, it falls into the category of ‘dwarf’ planets, just like the large asteroid Ceres. But the members of the IAU have decided to give Pluto a place of honor among these ‘dwarf’ planets. At 15:54, they voted 237 to 157 in favor of resolution 6a, which recognizes it as the prototype of a whole family of “large trans-neptunian objects”. For the time being, this family of which Pluto is the representative, does not have a name, the term “plutonian objects” proposed by the executive of the UAI to qualify them not having been retained by the Assembly”.
Pluto thus became the first and main representative of this category of “plutonian objects”: normal, given its function as manager of the multiple in the R.E.T.
For lovers of horary astrology (which I am not), note:
▶ At 15:33 (13:33 local time), the vote on resolution 5a eliminated Pluto as a planet. His real position (domitude) in the local sphere of Prague was then 3° in House I (so he was about to rise).
▶ At 15:54 (13:54 local time), the vote on resolution 6a placed Pluto in the provisional category of “plutonian objects”. Its real position was then 26° in House XII: it had just risen.
In short, on this more hysterical than historic day, Pluto was brought down as it rose on the horizon… Coincidence or significant synchronicity? I let you judge… and choose the hourly version you prefer.
Antics seen and heard when during Pluto lost its status as a planet:
“A ball, a stuffed dog, a packet of cereal and a lemon are laid out on a table. Jocelyne Bell-Burnell, defines the solar system in front of her colleagues: the balloon represents the 8 classic planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune). The stuffed dog — actually Walt Disney’s famous Pluto — plays the role of Pluto (Pluto in Latin and English). A packet of muesli sits there, advocating ‘dwarf planets’. Finally, at the very end of the table, a lemon represents the interests of the ‘small bodies of the solar system’. The speaker pulls an umbrella out of nowhere, and places it above the balloon, the stuffed animal, and the cereal. She then launches into a convoluted demonstration where the terms ‘planets’, ‘classic planets’, and ‘dwarf planets’ collide. ‘See, it’s as simple as an umbrella’, laughs the session chairman. The public laughs out loud, but does not seem convinced. It’s time to vote: a forest of arms rises, equipped with yellow cards. But the count drags on, and the voters get tired. “We could have invested in an electronic voting system, but we thought that investing this money in scientific projects would be more useful”, apologizes the master of ceremonies. Eventually, Pluto (and the stuffed animal that represents him) is excluded from the solar system. By a fairly large majority. Resolutions, counter-resolutions and amendments follow one another. “Some of us certainly died during the recount,” quipped a speaker. One last vote. The master of ceremonies asks himself, half seriously: ‘Should we vote to know whether to recount the cards one by one?’”.
With regard to the position of Pluto in the R.E.T., nothing has changed, no offense to the astronomers who brandish stuffed animals from Disneyland during this grotesque masquerade.
“Behind the R.E.T., there is the Logoscope, and if it is easy to tweak the letters, the diagram, the definitions, for a serious overcoming, it is not about the visible part of the iceberg that you have to inquire, but about the whole and of its foundations… The Logoscope is the face Integration of the R.E.T., the R.E.T. the face Relationship of the Logoscope… This micro-model of interactions between increasing and decreasing levels of a binary progression and its implicit functions, already confirmed in the astrometric data of the semi-axes and planetary gravities, is likely to be present in biology and microphysics as well… If I were my own objector, I would say that the Logoscope is a cold, almost soulless tool. While we come to astrology for its mysteries and those of our human wanderings and complications, we are frustrated by the unforgiving simplicity of the system” (J.-P. Nicola). This text is sufficiently clear to dispense with comments.
“Never was a transplutonian so long awaited in about forty years… Waiting all the more pointless as a 10th planet, and more, would not change the model. It is perfectly possible to multiply a planetary function by assigning different coefficients to the components of its formula. The astonishing thing is that there is only one planet per function in the solar system, instead of 2 or 3. That of Jupiter, for example, could be nuanced by different weightings of Existence, Representation, of non-Transcendence!” (J.-P. Nicola).
I will only make one comment: if the UAI has in extremis (I insist on this term) decided, not to make a transplutonian star (in this case Xena) a planet, but to deprive Pluto of the status of planetary object, that does not change anything. Here is what J.-P. Nicola wrote in a text on asteroids dating back more than 20 years:
“If the heliocentric distance of 2.8 U.A. participates in the coherence of the solar system, in the absence of selection criteria such as the diameter of the planet or its eccentricity, it has no exclusive representative. With an uncertainty of 2% the candidates multiply: Pallas (2.77), Laetitia (2.77), Eleonore (2.79), Kepler (2.68), Dembowska (2.92), Eunomia (2.64). The use of the corresponding cycles does not allow controllable analyses. To what astricle belongs the merit of leading the maturation to the jupiterian age. To Ceres, Cybele, Pallas, or to registration number 1668 (2.8 AU)? The hypothesis of a global effect, hardly measurable, goes against the principle of differentiated functions which, for reasons that have not yet been demonstrated, imposes a single star per function… Would our Sun be in ‘representation of Representation’ if it was alone? Maybe, but a little less. Thus, in astrology, the multiple celestial elements, asteroids, parts, minor aspects, empty hearths, join a function contrary to the Sun in their meanings. Pluto, probably because it contributes to the harmony of the solar system, remains the decisive, not exclusive, representative of the plurality.”
“Among the asteroids, Ceres is No. that the practices of 1 day = 1 year or 4 minutes = 1 day in forecasting methods among symbolist astrologers. This brilliant present-past nevertheless makes it a representative asteroid (planiticule). On various occasions, we have seen, in fact, that (its) L/g ratio… could rival Pluto […]. We would readily deduce that Ceres has its place in a birth sky, which many astrologers do not hesitate to do with or without the guarantee of the L/g ratio. In fact, this ratio, within the margin of 3%, is obtained with other asteroids, such as Vesta, with a L/g ratio substantially close to Ceres (10 instead of 9.54 in terrestrial units). Symbolic astrology certainly has no concern for disqualification or qualification of stars. For this school the voids (hearths of ellipses, intersections of conventional geometric planes) are equal to the solids and merge in the same language of signs without signals. On this problem of influence qualifications, natural astrology maintains that the criteria call for a network of coherent interactions and not isolated influences. The coherence of the solar system is based on its resonances with the microphysical structures of hydrogen and the macrophysical structures of the Sun. Planetary pairings are part of the criteria by resonance (couples, in atomistics, are commonplace). An unformed or exploded star has no exclusive partner. Therefore, the theory that planned to distinguish an R.E.T. lunar, global, represented by a single star, of a solar represented by the main planets, has equally planned to oppose the homogeneity of the Moon to the heterogeneity of asteroids.”
In a simplistic summary: it is not enough for a star to revolve around the Sun to be astrologically influential, it must also participate in couples and resonances within the solar system; and moreover Nicola had already written thirty years ago that “Pluto, probably because it contributes to the harmony of the solar system, remains the decisive representative, not exclusive, plurality”.
Excerpt from the article Pluto? Pluto no by Sylvestre Huet published in Liberation: “The Plutonians, if they exist, have to give a damn like the year forty. An assembly of astrophysicists […] voted yesterday by a show of hands, their forfeiture. They no longer inhabit a planet in the solar system, but a ‘dwarf planet’. The advantage with the Plutonians is that they are unlikely to start a name war, like the Inuits fighting the term Eskimo.”
I don’t know if the author of this article is an astrologer (it’s unlikely since he’s a science journalist), but any conditionalist could have signed these sentences with both hands. Of course, Huet speaks of the hyper-hypothetical (that’s an understatement) inhabitants of Pluto, while astrology speaks of human beings born under a strong influence of this planet, uh sorry, “dwarf planet”, “planetino” or I don’t know what other new denomination (will the UAI change its mind at its next congress in three years? Mystery…).
Nevertheless: both from an astrometric point of view (see the work of J.-P. Nicola) and from the point of view of empirical observation, it is undeniable that there is a plutonian function and plutonian individuals who embody it. For more than 35 years that I have studied and practiced astrology, I can no longer doubt it: I have met too many Plutonians, in consultation or not, studied too many biographies of Plutonians to still be able to doubt. I even devoted an astrobiography of almost 300 pages to François Mitterrand (more than a year of work and research), whose Natal Chart, I categorically affirm, cannot be explained if we remove Pluto to the MC: only one angularity remains, Venus, to explain the functioning of this individual, who certainly had charm, sensuality and seduction, but who also functioned in hyper-complexity (all his biographers — and not only the astrologer that I am — highlight foreground this fundamental and very plutonian character trait in him). There’s no smoke without fire, right?
Imagine that you have a bicycle, and that a verbalizing scientist breaks into your house saying: “Ah, no, sir, you’re too small, too young and you don’t have enough sense of balance to ride a bicycle. The Académie des Chiances & Cycles is therefore going to rename it ‘tricycle’ and note that in school textbooks, it will be more realistic”.
What will happen to you after this decision? Will your bicycle turn into a tricycle with the help of this verbal magic wand? Will the physical laws governing the balance on your bike suddenly change because schoolbooks have been put to the pestle?
It is the same for the plutonian function of the Logoscope in general, and for the star Pluto in particular.
Pluto was therefore excluded from the planetary procession by a show of hands. How does this procedure, moreover very democratic but in no way scientific, come under the laws of astrophysics? In nothing. Rather, it looks like the exact opposite of the Miss Universe election: we do not vote to include the most beautiful in the list of Firsts, but to exclude the last, the smallest and the ugliest. And in both types of election, the choices are equally subjective and arbitrary, hyper-conditioned by the clichés and canons of a milieu and an era. With fewer Pomerols, no hyphens, more Americans, a leaner fan club, more real science… and conditionalist astronomers, Miss Pluto might have been elected in Prague.
Apart from Prague, Pluto is therefore still doing very well in the R.E.T. and in the sky. It is not because it has lost its status as a planet that it has stopped making its sidereal revolution and that the Plutonians no longer exist. It’s just an adventure that will sell textbooks, nothing more.
Chance, coincidence or mystery of Integration, it is at the very moment when the UAI made Pluto lose its status as a planet “classic” that Science et Avenir published its Special Edition devoted to science fiction.
It evokes the various conceptions of science, such as the Realism, “doctrine that physical theories aim to describe reality as it is in itself, in its unobservable components”; Instrumentalism, “doctrine that views theories as tools for predicting observations”; the Fictionalism, “common ground according to which the referential content of theories is a decoy, useful only to ensure the linguistic articulation of the fundamental equations”.
In an article titled The laws of physics are fictitious!, Nancy Cartwright, professor of philosophy at the London School of Economics and Political Science and at the University of California, makes this very relevant reflection on the relationship between scientific theories and the reality they are supposed to describe: “You asked me how physics can make accurate predictions using highly abstract statements if those statements are not true. I responded by saying that the way physics actually produces good predictions is an argument for the fallacy of these laws. Even in cases where the theory plays an important role, we have to add many ad hoc fixes and additional elements to get the theory to produce good predictions. It’s the ad-hoc nature of these patches and add-ons that grabs my attention; neither do they belong to theory nor are they constrained by it. This means that we must take seriously the fact that these highly abstract theories might after all not be true or not be ‘approximately true’. Realism or fictionalism, we will certainly never have the means to decide on this alternative. Realists argue that their position satisfactorily accounts for the predictive power of science. But I think a certain form of fictionalism serves this function just as well, a fictionalism which takes abstract statements to be simulacra, that is, something which simply has the form or appearance of a certain thing but which, in the strong sense, does not possess its own substance or qualities. If I say that the fundamental laws of physics are false or lie, it is because they claim to speak about the objects, the real and concrete things that exist here in our material world. In themselves, fundamental equations such as Maxwell’s equations, Schrödinger’s equation or general relativity equations are abstract mathematical structures that say nothing about real phenomena. Realists argue that fundamental laws are idealizations or simplifications of what actually happens. But then, it is hard to see why a fundamental equation requires so many ad hoc phenomenological corrections and adjustments not dictated by the equation itself, to produce correct descriptions of the phenomena. The answer, in my opinion, lies in the fact that, in order to be applied to reality, a mathematical theory must be based on a model of phenomena which in some way allows them to be expressed in the language of theory. The model is a work of fiction, i.e. it describes situations and fictional beings (perfect fluid, point mass, etc.). Hence my refusal to say that the fundamental laws govern the objects in reality while they relate to the objects of the model.”
And when the scientific model excludes the astrological object, scientists conclude that the astrological object does not exist in reality: CQFD. From this point of view, the exclusion of Pluto from the model of “classic planets” is just an insignificant anecdote.
Article published in issue No. 26 of the Fil d’ARIANA (October 2006).
▶ The plutonian function ‘tT’ (transcendence of Transcendence)
▶ The Plutonian: Psychological profile
▶ Mercury-Saturn-Pluto: intensive transcendence
▶ Uranus-Neptune-Pluto: extensive Transcendence
▶ Sun-Mars-Pluto: extensive Power
▶ The time beyond: from Neptune to Pluto
▶ Plutonian stage (from 164 to 248 years old): the age of disappearance
▶ Sun-Pluto, a special couple
▶ Psykott show n° 1 : Soleil-Pluton, les découvreurs dérangent
▶ Élizabeth Teissier, Pluto in Scorpio & the AIDS epidemic
▶ Orbes et transits de Pluton
▶ The deplanetization of Pluto, a hysterical decision
▶ Les astres transplutoniens
Les significations planétaires
620 pages. Illustrations en couleur.
La décision de ne traiter dans ce livre que des significations planétaires ne repose pas sur une sous-estimation du rôle des Signes du zodiaque et des Maisons. Le traditionnel trio Planètes-Zodiaque-Maisons est en effet l’expression d’une structure qui classe ces trois plans selon leur ordre de préséance et dans ce triptyque hiérarchisé, les Planètes occupent le premier rang.
La première partie de ce livre rassemble donc, sous une forme abondamment illustrée de schémas pédagogiques et tableaux explicatifs, une édition originale revue, augmentée et actualisée des textes consacrés aux significations planétaires telles qu’elles ont été définies par l’astrologie conditionaliste et une présentation détaillée des méthodes de hiérarchisation planétaire et d’interprétation accompagnées de nombreux exemples concrets illustrés par des Thèmes de célébrités.
La deuxième partie est consacrée, d’une part à une présentation critique des fondements traditionnels des significations planétaires, d’autre part à une présentation des rapports entre signaux et symboles, astrologie et psychologie. Enfin, la troisième partie présente brièvement les racines astrométriques des significations planétaires… et propose une voie de sortie de l’astrologie pour accéder à une plus vaste dimension noologique et spirituelle qui la prolonge et la contient.
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Pluton planète naine : une erreur géante
117 pages. Illustrations en couleur.
Pluton ne fait plus partie des planètes majeures de notre système solaire : telle est la décision prise par une infime minorité d’astronomes lors de l’Assemblée Générale de l’Union Astronomique Internationale qui s’est tenue à Prague en août 2006. Elle est reléguée au rang de “planète naine”, au même titre que les nombreux astres découverts au-delà de son orbite.
Ce livre récapitule et analyse en détail le pourquoi et le comment de cette incroyable et irrationnelle décision contestée par de très nombreux astronomes de premier plan. Quelles sont les effets de cette “nanification” de Pluton sur son statut astrologique ? Faut-il remettre en question son influence et ses significations astro-psychologiques qui semblaient avérées depuis sa découverte en 1930 ? Les “plutoniens” ont-ils cessé d’exister depuis cette décision charlatanesque ? Ce livre pose également le problème des astres transplutoniens nouvellement découverts. Quel statut astrologique et quelles influences et significations précises leur accorder ?
Enfin, cet ouvrage propose une vision unitaire du système solaire qui démontre, chiffes et arguments rationnels à l’appui, que Pluton en est toujours un élément essentiel, ce qui est loin d’être le cas pour les autres astres au-delà de son orbite. Après avoir lu ce livre, vous saurez quoi répondre à ceux qui pensent avoir trouvé, avec l’exclusion de Pluton du cortège planétaire traditionnel, un nouvel argument contre l’astrologie !
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