Myanmar's leading astrologers say they still consider Pluto a planet, despite what scientists elsewhere in the world have decided, a newsweekly said Monday.
"Pluto has been traditionally defined as a planet in astrology, and it will retain that status," U Tiun Lin, president of the Myanmar Astrologers Association was quoted as saying in the Myanmar Times.
Scientists at the International Astronomical Union met in Prague last week and voted to strip Pluto of its status as a planet, saying that a planet must orbit the sun and be large enough to assume a nearly round shape. The decision downsized the solar system to eight planets from the traditional nine.
"Those scientists can decide what they like, but we will continue to recognize Pluto's important role in the solar system and we will continue to consider it in our calculations as we always have," U Tun Lin said. "It is far from Earth and has a very wide orbit, which means it is too weak to influence predictions for individuals but does have the power to influence long-term predictions about bigger events."
Astrology is widely followed in Myanmar, as it is in many Asian countries, and people regularly consult astrologers.
The news report quoted other well-known astrologers saying they too will continue to call Pluto a planet.
"Pluto plays an important role in predicting the future of nations, so it has a powerful status. We can't erase the traditional ways, just as we can't change the essence of religious teachings whenever we like," said Than Htay, vice president of the Myanmar Astrology Research Bureau.
Myanmar astrologers classify planets according to their color, size, number of rings, orbit period and axial tilt to determine how they influence the future of individuals or institutions, the Myanmar Times said.