WHAT: Astrophysicist Dale Gary, professor and chair of the department of physics at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) returned yesterday from the International Astronomical Union’s general assembly in Prague. Gary is available (work: 973-596-7878; home: 908-898-1553; cell: 908-917-0354) to discuss the ramifications of the change in Pluto’s status. “Pluto has been reclassified as a dwarf planet together with the large asteroid Ceres, and several other objects beyond Pluto,” he said. “Pluto will, however, be recognized as the prototype of a new category of objects with orbits beyond Neptune. The name for this category could not be decided (in a close vote), so the category will be named after further deliberation by the Union.”
“As we learn more about the solar system, we realize that old definitions are inadequate,” he added. “That’s because the tools of science, especially telescopes and cameras, have undergone tremendous improvements. Sensitive, automated systems now scan the skies to discover faint moving objects, some of which are found to be large, distant, planet-sized objects.”
WHO: Gary is a noted telescope maker as well as the director of the Owens Valley Solar Array Radio Telescope, Big Pine, CA. The author of more than 100 scholarly articles in academic journals, Gary is principal investigator for a design study for a new radiotelescope array called the Frequency Agile Solar Radiotelescope. Gary’s research interests include solar and stellar radio physics, radio astronomy, and microwave instrumentation. Gary received his BS in physics from University of Michigan and his PhD in astrogeophysics from University of Colorado.