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Science for Alaska series features Pluto lecture in Juneau

Submitted by Cheri Renson
Phone: 907-474-5114

02/12/08

It's more than three billion miles away and only one-fifth the size of Earth's moon, yet Pluto was the source of worldwide debate when members of the International Astronomical Union demoted it to the status of dwarf planet in 2006. The mysterious celestial body is no longer included in the Milky Way's list of eight major planets, but scientists still yearn to learn more about it. On Wednesday, Feb. 13, Travis Rector, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Alaska Anchorage, will share information about Pluto and why he and other members of the IAU voted to change its status.

Rector's lecture, "What Constitutes a Planet? The Debate Over Pluto," will begin at 7 p.m. in the Centennial Hall Convention Center in Juneau. It is the final lecture in the Juneau leg of the statewide Science for Alaska Lecture Series. The lectures are free and all ages are welcome.

The Science for Alaska Lecture Series brings the current research of University of Alaska scientists to the community in free presentations that are entertaining and educational. Since 1992, roughly 100,000 people statewide have enjoyed science lectures in the series.

The 2008 Science for Alaska Lecture Series is sponsored by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the Geophysical Institute and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

CONTACT: Cheri Renson, Anchorage and Juneau coordinator, at 907-474-5114 or via e-mail at cheri.renson@uaf.edu.

ON THE WEB: www.scienceforalaska.com