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Pluto Could Lose Planet Status
PhysOrg.com ^ | 21 June 2006 | Staff

Posted on 06/22/2006 4:11:12 AM PDT by PatrickHenry

At its conference this August, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will make a decision that could see Pluto lose its status as a planet.

For the first time, the organisation will be officially defining the word "planet", and it is causing much debate in the world of astronomy.

There is only one thing that everyone seems to agree on: there are no longer nine planets in the Solar System.

The debate has been brought to a head by the discovery of a potential 10th planet, temporarily named 2003 UB313 in January 2005. This new candidate planet is bigger than Pluto.

The question now facing the IAU is whether to make this new discovery a planet.

Pluto is an unusual planet as it is made predominantly of ice and is smaller even than the Earth's Moon.

There is a group of astronomers that are arguing for an eight-planet SolarSystem, with neither Pluto or 2003 UB313 making the grade as a planet; but a number of astronomers are arguing for a more specific definition of a planet.

One of these; Kuiper Belt researcher Dr Marc Buie, of the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, has come up with a clear planetary definition he would like to see the IAU adopt.

I believe the definition of planet should be as simple as possible, so I've come up with two criteria," he said.

"One is that it can't be big enough to burn its own matter - that's what a star does. On the small end, I think the boundary between a planet and not a planet should be, is the gravity of the object stronger than the strength of the material of the object? That's a fancy way of saying is it round?"

This definition could lead to our Solar System having as many as 20 planets, including Pluto, 2003 UB313, and many objects that were previously classified as moons or asteroids.

One possible resolution to the debate is for new categories of planet to be introduced. Mercury, Venus, the Earth and Mars would be "rocky planets". The gas-giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune would be a second category.

Whatever the outcome of this debate there is only one thing that we can be certain of; by September 2006 there will no longer be just nine planets in our Solar System.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: artbell; kbo; planetx; xplanets
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Uranus seems secure.

In other Plutonian news: Pluto's newest moons get names: Nix, Hydra.

1 posted on 06/22/2006 4:11:13 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: VadeRetro; Junior; longshadow; RadioAstronomer; Doctor Stochastic; js1138; Shryke; RightWhale; ...
SciencePing
An elite subset of the Evolution list.
See the list's explanation at my freeper homepage.
Then FReepmail to be added or dropped.

2 posted on 06/22/2006 4:12:20 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Unresponsive to trolls, lunatics, fanatics, retards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry

It's good to start the day with a laugh. Thanks.


3 posted on 06/22/2006 4:12:57 AM PDT by goarmy (Zarqawi's OH SH*T moment lasted 52 minutes)
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To: PatrickHenry

This is the work of the big corporations always picking on the little people and the little planets. Somebody call the ACLU.


4 posted on 06/22/2006 4:13:58 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: PatrickHenry

They should kick Uranus out.


5 posted on 06/22/2006 4:14:04 AM PDT by DainBramage
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To: PatrickHenry

This is what has been keeping me up at night. I hope they resolve it soon.


6 posted on 06/22/2006 4:15:06 AM PDT by croak
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To: PatrickHenry

You can't just make a guy part of the family then all of the sudden revoke his planet status. It ain't right. I'm with you Pluto, to hell with what they say.


7 posted on 06/22/2006 4:15:47 AM PDT by Jaysun (I from a little place called Smithereens. It ain't pretty out here.)
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To: PatrickHenry

The Solar System's planets can end at Neptune, as it (currently) is the farthestmost planet that is generally in the same plane as the other planets.


8 posted on 06/22/2006 4:18:37 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( www.answersingenesis.org)
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To: PatrickHenry

Relegated to junk-planet status.


9 posted on 06/22/2006 4:19:28 AM PDT by johnny7 (“And what's Fonzie like? Come on Yolanda... what's Fonzie like?!”)
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To: DainBramage
They should kick Uranus out.

hehehehehe

heheheheheheh

hehehehehehehe

10 posted on 06/22/2006 4:20:21 AM PDT by JusPasenThru (Democrats have bad karma.)
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To: PatrickHenry

I'm rooting for official status to Planet Xena and Moon Gabrielle.


11 posted on 06/22/2006 4:22:14 AM PDT by tlb
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To: PatrickHenry

This is outrageious. First they kick Taiwan out of the UN, then they kick Pluto out of the solar system. What's next? Are we going to rename Earth and start calling it something stupid like "the Planet"? Citizens of the Solar System unite and Save Pluto Now!!


12 posted on 06/22/2006 4:24:11 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: KevinDavis

space ping.


13 posted on 06/22/2006 4:25:05 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( www.answersingenesis.org)
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To: PatrickHenry

I think my third grade teacher owes me better grade on that science test!


14 posted on 06/22/2006 4:25:07 AM PDT by VRWCtaz (Conservatism is about promoting opportunity and Liberalism is about controlling outcome.)
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To: PatrickHenry
relegated to star status.
15 posted on 06/22/2006 4:25:34 AM PDT by Vaquero ("An armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: rhombus

Actually, they just swapped the Republic of China for the People's Republic of China, though today Taiwan is for the large part a de facto country.


16 posted on 06/22/2006 4:27:19 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( www.answersingenesis.org)
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To: PatrickHenry

Darn it,

"Interplanet Janet" of Schoolhouse Rock fame has become obsolete!!


17 posted on 06/22/2006 4:30:53 AM PDT by GatorGirl
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
Actually, they just swapped the Republic of China for the People's Republic of China, though today Taiwan is for the large part a de facto country.

Don't try and dodge the issue - We're talking about Pluto here, damnit! /s :-)

18 posted on 06/22/2006 4:32:08 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: PatrickHenry

By Golly,

If I were Pluto, I would just take my moons and leave the Solar System!

No way would I stay around and be the Joe Leiberman of the Universe!

:o)


19 posted on 06/22/2006 4:32:21 AM PDT by Rhetorical pi2
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To: PatrickHenry
"One possible resolution to the debate is for new categories of planet to be introduced. Mercury, Venus, the Earth and Mars would be "rocky planets"."

I move that we rename these planets, respectively, 'Rocky I, Rocky II, Rocky III, and Rocky IV.
20 posted on 06/22/2006 4:33:04 AM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Rugged individualists of the world, unite!)
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To: PatrickHenry

But does Pluto really care? Let's do a poll.


21 posted on 06/22/2006 4:35:44 AM PDT by Past Your Eyes (Some people are too stupid to be ashamed.)
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To: Jaysun

It's not personal, it's just business.


22 posted on 06/22/2006 4:38:09 AM PDT by SW6906 (5 things you can't have too much of: sex, money, firewood, guns and ammunition.)
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To: PatrickHenry

UB313 is good, honorable, hardworking planet doing the orbit Solarian planets won’t do.


23 posted on 06/22/2006 4:39:08 AM PDT by grjr21
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To: Hegemony Cricket
Mercury, Venus, the Earth and Mars would be "rocky planets". The gas-giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune would be a second category. Bulwinkle planets?
24 posted on 06/22/2006 4:40:52 AM PDT by NonValueAdded ("So to hell with that twerp at the [WaPo]. I've got no time for him on a day like this." Mark Steyn)
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To: PatrickHenry
Pluto's newest moons get names: Nix, Hydra.

Uh-oh!

25 posted on 06/22/2006 4:42:50 AM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Count Petofi will not be denied!)
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To: PatrickHenry

Does that mean it will be harder to get an FHA-guaranteed mortgage there?


26 posted on 06/22/2006 4:43:15 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: PatrickHenry

This is what happens when you let a lot of out-of-staters move in!


27 posted on 06/22/2006 4:44:05 AM PDT by wolfcreek
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To: PatrickHenry
Well Pluto's tilted eccentric orbit is more like a comet's orbit than a planet's orbit and most likely it was originally one of Neptune's moons that somehow got free of Neptune's gravity.
28 posted on 06/22/2006 4:44:18 AM PDT by wattojawa
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To: PatrickHenry

But if we get rid of one planet, won't that effect the orbits of the others? If you're an astrologist will this mean a cut in pay? Less reliable horoscopes?


29 posted on 06/22/2006 4:46:16 AM PDT by CrazyIvan (If you read only one book this year, read "Stolen Valor".)
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To: PatrickHenry
Pluto Could Lose Planet Status

?????

That's just goofy.

30 posted on 06/22/2006 4:46:44 AM PDT by N. Theknow (Kennedys - Can't drive, can't fly, can't ski, can't skipper a boat - But they know what's best.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Mickey and Goofy might have something to say about this!


31 posted on 06/22/2006 4:47:47 AM PDT by poobear (The most critical job that Americans will not do (just illegals): Vote for Democrats!)
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To: Larry Lucido

Heck just ask Fannie Mae, they will mortgage you the entire planet just so they can try and balance the books....


32 posted on 06/22/2006 4:48:19 AM PDT by Abathar (Proudly catching hell for posting without reading the article since 2004)
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To: SW6906
(5 things you can't have too much of: sex, money, firewood, guns and ammunition.)

I like your tagline, but you forgot horsepower.

33 posted on 06/22/2006 4:48:35 AM PDT by dc27
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To: All
Pluto was originally named something else, I think? Starts with H...

Uranus has certainly lost it's status over the years. It seems like its' tracks are messy.

34 posted on 06/22/2006 4:48:48 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: PatrickHenry

This is clear bias against circumfrencially-challenged bodies. When do the protests start?


35 posted on 06/22/2006 4:51:32 AM PDT by Doohickey (Democrats are nothing without a constituency of victims.)
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To: dc27

How did I ever overlook that?!!? Thanks!


36 posted on 06/22/2006 4:51:34 AM PDT by SW6906 (6 things you can't have too much of: sex, money, firewood, horsepower, guns and ammunition.)
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan

Von Strucker must be happy
Didn't they declare Hollywood a planet?


37 posted on 06/22/2006 4:59:17 AM PDT by Waverunner
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To: PatrickHenry
What is the nature or essence of a planet?

I like it when scientists argue in Aristotelian/Scholastic terms.

38 posted on 06/22/2006 5:00:49 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: PatrickHenry
Clyde Tombaugh was still quite a man.
39 posted on 06/22/2006 5:04:28 AM PDT by clyde asbury (Presto agitato)
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To: SW6906

LOL! Much better


40 posted on 06/22/2006 5:09:58 AM PDT by dc27
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To: Jaysun

I define a planet as anything Pluto or bigger that directly orbits a star.

Mercury
Venus
Earth
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
Uranus
Neptune
Pluto
"Uebee"


41 posted on 06/22/2006 5:11:58 AM PDT by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (Give Them Liberty Or Give Them Death! - IT'S ISLAM, STUPID! - Islam Delenda Est! - Rumble thee forth)
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To: PatrickHenry
Okay, you tell her that she's being demoted.


42 posted on 06/22/2006 5:15:21 AM PDT by Tanniker Smith (I didn't know she was a liberal when I married her.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Plutism - plain and simple! Those bloody Plutists!!!

We need special planetary districts to guarantee representation of minority planets.


43 posted on 06/22/2006 5:15:32 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion (outside a good dog, a book is your best friend. inside a dog it's too dark to read)
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To: Past Your Eyes

How about Goofy? (Kerry comes to mind.)


44 posted on 06/22/2006 5:15:43 AM PDT by pleikumud
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To: PatrickHenry; RadioAstronomer
Both definitions seem vague to me.

Re: star vs planet
if we think it's big enough to burn it's on matter, but isn't doing so? What if it's doing so but only on a very limited basis and doesn't look like a star?

Re: small end of planet
How round is round? We have mountains, does that mean our gravity isn't stronger than our material? Does an asteroid of fine particles that assumes a round shape qualify as a planet?

I think on the small end they should set a specific mass. On the large end, it should not be burning it's own material and it should be orbiting something.

What do we call a planet that's not orbiting a star? Is it still a planet?

45 posted on 06/22/2006 5:25:02 AM PDT by DannyTN
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To: dc27; SW6906
(5 things you can't have too much of: sex, money, firewood, guns and ammunition.)

I like your tagline, but you forgot horsepower.

Obviously, you've never tried to drive a 2WD truck up a steep hill on bald tires in the middle of winter... There IS such a thing as too much horsepower!!! ;-P

46 posted on 06/22/2006 5:25:47 AM PDT by MortMan (Trains stop at train stations. On my desk is a workstation...)
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To: DannyTN

The only thing I learned that sticks in my head is: Stars twinkle, planets do not.


47 posted on 06/22/2006 5:29:52 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: PatrickHenry

Interesting. Both Titan and Ganymede are larger than the planet Mercury...


48 posted on 06/22/2006 5:30:18 AM PDT by Sloth (We cannot defeat foreign enemies of the Constitution if we yield to the domestic ones.)
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To: MortMan

That's not too much horsepower, that's a baldness problem.

I was thinking balls could get added to that list, but then some guys have more balls than brains, and that's not good.


49 posted on 06/22/2006 5:31:27 AM PDT by DannyTN
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To: Sloth

I have an VERY old USA atlas. There are several planets named and shown in their orbits besides what we learned in school.


50 posted on 06/22/2006 5:32:26 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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