Palermo

This name was proposed by the majority of members of the Small Bodies Names Committee. Citation prepared by B. G. Marsden.

The naming of this planet was very controversial. The Minor Planet Center in a Editorial Notice (M.P.C. 33615) discussed the naming procedure during the nearly two centuries of minor planet discoveries: "... It has been traditional to have a special celebration with each thousandth numbering... Obviously, it would be appropriate to have some very special celebration to acknowledge (10000)... Most readers... will be aware of recent discussions in the press concerning a proposal that the number (10000) should be given to Pluto. The principal reasoning for this is the recognition during the past few years that Pluto was the first discovered and largest known member of the "Transneptunian Belt" of small objects beyond Neptune that possess some similarity, at least dynamically, to bodies in the Cisjovian Belt. Although as many as 95 members of the Transneptunian Belt are now listed, most of the orbital solutions are very weak... Although it is not unlikely that further Transneptunian Objects as large as Pluto will be discovered in the future, Pluto obviously holds a very special place in our appreciation of this new population, and by assigning to it the number (10000), we should guarantee that Pluto will be at the head of the Transneptunian list. It is also very important to affirm that there is absolutely no implied "demotion" or "reclassification" of Pluto from its position in the list of the "planets"..." All users of the M.P.C.s were invited to vote on this proposal or to make an alternative suggestion. An examination of the votes was published in M.P.C. 33817. Although the messages received were from 22 different countries, some 57 percent of the vote originated in the U.S. Respondents from outside the U.S. voted overwhelmingly - 82 percent - in favor of (10000) Pluto. Inside the U.S., the vote in favor of (10000) Pluto was 51 percent. A slight majority in the Small Bodies Names Committee was in favor, but this "...had a rather sudden change of heart following agitation by a group of planetary astronomers, mainly located in the U.S. Acting on this sudden decision, the IAU Secretariat announced on Feb. 3 that the Small Bodies Names Committee had "decided against assigning any Minor Planet number to Pluto"... "

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