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The state of New Mexico could effectively secede from the astronomical community if a resolution to call Pluto a planet is passed.
Joint House Memorial 54 was introduced by representative Joni Marie Gutierrez, who represents Dona Ana County. It states that Pluto, the recently demoted object, "be declared a planet and that March 13, 2007 be declared 'Pluto Planet Day' at the legislature."
Pluto was stripped of its planet status last August when a group within the International Astronomical Union voted to call the diminutive, far-flung world a dwarf planet. The decision was immediately and widely criticized by astronomers, many of whom have said it might not stand over time.
A JOINT MEMORIAL DECLARING PLUTO A PLANET AND DECLARING MARCH 13, 2007, "PLUTO PLANET DAY" AT THE LEGISLATURE.
WHEREAS, the state of New Mexico is a global center for astronomy, astrophysics and planetary science; and
WHEREAS, New Mexico is home to world class astronomical observing facilities, such as the Apache Point observatory, the very large array, the Magdalena Ridge observatory and the national solar observatory; and
WHEREAS, Apache Point observatory, operated by New Mexico state university, houses the astrophysical research consortium's three-and-one-half meter telescope, as well as the unique two-and-one-half meter diameter Sloan digital sky survey telescope; and
WHEREAS, New Mexico state university has the state's only independent, doctorate-granting astronomy department; and
WHEREAS, New Mexico state university and Dona Ana county were the longtime home of Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto; and
WHEREAS, Pluto has been recognized as a planet for seventy-five years; and
WHEREAS, Pluto's average orbit is three billion six hundred ninety-five million nine hundred fifty thousand miles from the sun, and its diameter is approximately one thousand four hundred twenty-one miles; and
WHEREAS, Pluto has three moons known as Charon, Nix and Hydra; and
WHEREAS, a spacecraft called new horizons was launched in January 2006 to explore Pluto in the year 2015;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that, as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet and that March 13, 2007 be declared "Pluto Planet Day" at the legislature.
Originally posted by befoiled
WHEREAS, New Mexico state university and Dona Ana county were the longtime home of Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto;