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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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To: JusPasenThru

Yeh....For streaking!!


51 posted on 06/22/2006 5:33:34 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: PatrickHenry
I can see the headline in the NY Times: Pluto Stripped of Planetary Status; Women and Minorities Most Affected
52 posted on 06/22/2006 5:33:34 AM PDT by ABG(anybody but Gore) ("By the time I'm finished with you, you're gonna wish you felt this good again" - Jack Bauer)
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To: MortMan

Reminds me of a time I towed my friend's ski boat with my 2WD truck. His 4WD was in the shop. All was good going down his steep driveway, which wasn't paved. It was just covered with crushed rock. Had to let all the air out of the tires and put bags of concrete in the bed to get up the driveway. It wasn't pretty, resembled a tractor pull. He wasn't too happy about all the rocks bouncing off his gel coat.


53 posted on 06/22/2006 5:35:19 AM PDT by dc27
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To: PatrickHenry

I was dated a women, in college, who thought there were only 7 planets in the entire universe. 35 years later my friend, who sent me up with this blind date, still refers to her as "7 planet women". Maybe she was just ahead of her time.


54 posted on 06/22/2006 5:37:00 AM PDT by cynicalman
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To: cynicalman

i was = I once


55 posted on 06/22/2006 5:37:52 AM PDT by cynicalman
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To: cynicalman

sent = set god I have to drink my cup of coffee before posting


56 posted on 06/22/2006 5:38:54 AM PDT by cynicalman
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To: PatrickHenry

Pluto not a planet!!! This is terrible!

Just yesterday, someone asked me if Goofy was really a dog?


57 posted on 06/22/2006 5:39:48 AM PDT by Maurice Tift
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To: PatrickHenry
The 10th planet is nicknamed Xena until it is officially named.

Unfortunately, 2003 EL61 doesn't have a name yet.

58 posted on 06/22/2006 5:43:54 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide
I define a planet as anything Pluto or bigger that directly orbits a star.

Actually, if you look at the orbit, "our" moon actually orbits the sun, not Earth. The moon's orbit is always concave toward the sun. Sometimes (once each month) the curvature of the moon's orbit becomes more than the average curvature of the Earth-moon system, and the moon moves a bit further from the sun, but the moon's orbit never curves away from the sun, nor does it ever 'back up'. The same thing can be said of the Earth itself. In effect, we have a double-planet system.

Calling Luna a planet also meets the quoted definition of a planet, where the gravity overcomes the strength of material (round). Of course, there are a lot of 'moons' of Saturn and Jupiter that are round. In those cases the moons' orbits do curve away from the sun.

Maybe you need to expand your definition and say that it's a bigger than Pluto and is the largest object within a million miles.
59 posted on 06/22/2006 5:45:17 AM PDT by Gorjus
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

Isn't that where the Cyber-Men come from?


60 posted on 06/22/2006 5:47:36 AM PDT by william clark
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To: dc27; SW6906

And RAM. And disk. And GHz. And bandwidth. And Pixels.


61 posted on 06/22/2006 5:48:18 AM PDT by Erasmus (Run amuck. There's a lotta mucks out there a-waitin' to be run!)
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To: PatrickHenry
Pluto Could Lose Planet Status

Should we take up a collection to help Pluto maintain its status?? Is there a license or something that has to be renewed?
62 posted on 06/22/2006 5:49:05 AM PDT by DustyMoment (FloriDUH - proud inventors of pregnant/hanging chads and judicide!!)
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To: Erasmus

Sheesh! You're right, but there's a character limit on the tagline! ;o)


63 posted on 06/22/2006 5:50:07 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: pleikumud

Can we throw Kerry out of the Solar System?


64 posted on 06/22/2006 5:51:24 AM PDT by lexington minuteman 1775
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To: DannyTN
What do we call a planet that's not orbiting a star? Is it still a planet?

From the origin of the word, even more so.

65 posted on 06/22/2006 5:52:10 AM PDT by Erasmus (Run amuck. There's a lotta mucks out there a-waitin' to be run!)
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To: DannyTN

Some small stars orbit a larger star or stars, and yet they are stars rather than planets. The currently closest star which isn't the Sun to Earth, Proxima is a small star orbiting two larger stars who have a sort of insular binary system between them.


66 posted on 06/22/2006 5:54:51 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( www.answersingenesis.org)
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To: Gorjus
in English, at least American English, Earth's moon is the Moon. Also, the Solar System is the Solar System (not the Sol system) and the Sun is the Sun (not Sol).
67 posted on 06/22/2006 5:59:40 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( www.answersingenesis.org)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
I always thought that "Planet X" was a cool name, particularly before they found the thing. They knew it had to be there from the gravitational effects, which is also why they used to think that Pluto was much bigger than it really is.

"Planet X" has it all: mystery, science and it's the Roman numeral for 10, and planets all have Roman names anyway.

Of course, according to ALF, the universe already named it Dave. Or it might've been Alvin.

TS

68 posted on 06/22/2006 6:00:59 AM PDT by Tanniker Smith (I didn't know she was a liberal when I married her.)
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To: PatrickHenry
This means I have to get a new moonbat non-sequitur bumper sticker: "US out of solar system".
69 posted on 06/22/2006 6:04:56 AM PDT by Disambiguator (I'm not paranoid, just pragmatic.)
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To: william clark

According to the 1966 episode, "cybermen were from Earth’s twin planet, Mondas, which evolved along similar lines to our world but drifted away from us and into deep space millennia ago."


70 posted on 06/22/2006 6:15:12 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Tanniker Smith
"Planet X" has it all: mystery, science and it's the Roman numeral for 10, and planets all have Roman names anyway.

Only because we don't use the Greek names in English. Then they'd be; Hermes, Aphrodite, Ares, Zeus, Cronos, Ouranos, Poseidon and Hades.

71 posted on 06/22/2006 6:17:47 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: PatrickHenry

What!?

72 posted on 06/22/2006 6:20:12 AM PDT by xp38
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Comment #73 Removed by Moderator

To: <1/1,000,000th%
Right, and that would just be silly. We'd have Hermes astronuats and Cronos V rockets. And then we'd have to call it Planet Chi or something.

TS
(And then instead of all the clip art of Pluto(tm), we'd have clip are of Chia Pets.)

74 posted on 06/22/2006 6:31:51 AM PDT by Tanniker Smith (I didn't know she was a liberal when I married her.)
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To: PatrickHenry
And the Intergalactic Union of Planets will be meeting to decide whether or not to move Earth from its Official Listing of Planent Dominated by Intelligent Lifeforms to its Official Listing of Planent Inhabited by Intelligent Lifeforms (if only for the dolphins, of course).
75 posted on 06/22/2006 6:36:00 AM PDT by Tanniker Smith (I didn't know she was a liberal when I married her.)
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To: rhombus

When I was a boy, I remember dinosaurs called "Brontosauruses." Palentologists apparently got bored and renamed them, as I recall. You don't hear so much about brontosauruses any more. Pluto must be undergoing the same wrath. It's job security for astronomers, I suppose.


76 posted on 06/22/2006 6:37:23 AM PDT by Lou L
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To: DainBramage

Uranus is gaseous?


77 posted on 06/22/2006 6:41:25 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: PatrickHenry

Pluto's an undocumented planet. Just doing the rotating around the Sun that our Solar System other planets won't do.


78 posted on 06/22/2006 6:41:31 AM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

How'd they explain how the people didn't freeze as they drifted away from the Sun in the storyline?


79 posted on 06/22/2006 6:45:43 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( www.answersingenesis.org)
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To: PatrickHenry

Hey, Pluto! Don't let the door hit Uranus on the way out!


80 posted on 06/22/2006 6:46:24 AM PDT by OB1kNOb (This is no time for bleeding hearts, pacifists, and appeasers to prevail in free world opinion.)
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To: Gorjus
In effect, we have a double-planet system.

Yep. But YOU try getting everyone to stop calling it "The Moon".

In fact, I would argue that all other moons are incorrectly defined and named - our sister planet was FIRST to get the name "Moon", so we should probably use a different term other than "moon" to describe natural satellites.
81 posted on 06/22/2006 6:59:12 AM PDT by beezdotcom
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To: clyde asbury
Clyde was a professor at New Mexico State University while I was a student there (80-83). He walked hunched over, as many older folks do, but very quickly, and really enjoyed talking to students. He always had a very cheery greeting for anyone he passed while walking on campus. Very cool guy.
82 posted on 06/22/2006 7:00:38 AM PDT by Sergio (If a tree fell on a mime in the forest, would he make a sound?)
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To: PatrickHenry

Another criterion for calling a body a planet would be that it's primary should be the Sun. This would keep Titan, the Moon, and other natural satellites from being called planets.


83 posted on 06/22/2006 7:19:18 AM PDT by RonF
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan

Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!


84 posted on 06/22/2006 7:21:02 AM PDT by RonF
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To: beezdotcom; Gorjus

The point about which both the Moon and the Earth orbit about each other stays about 1000 miles beneath the Earth's surface (but obviously it's location changes as the two bodies orbit and the Earth spins on it's axis). In such a case, I'd hold that the Moon orbits the Earth. If the point about which two bodies orbit each other is not beneath the surface of one of them, but is between them, then I'd call that a binary system.


85 posted on 06/22/2006 7:26:09 AM PDT by RonF
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To: PatrickHenry
Next one to go:
86 posted on 06/22/2006 7:30:00 AM PDT by GretchenM (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Please meet my friend, Jesus.)
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To: Gorjus; UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide
Maybe you need to expand your definition and say that it's a bigger than Pluto and is the largest object within a million miles.

I was hoping we could keep Hillary's posterior out of this discussion.

87 posted on 06/22/2006 7:35:37 AM PDT by GretchenM (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Please meet my friend, Jesus.)
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To: Gorjus
Actually, if you look at the orbit, "our" moon actually orbits the sun, not Earth. The moon's orbit is always concave toward the sun.

It depends on what is meant by "directly orbiting". This geometric definition is not valid. The wave formed by the motion of the moon around the earth being carried around the sun is an accident of the location of the earth. If you moved the earth far enough from the sun so that the moon's orbital velocity around the earth were faster than the earth's orbital velocity around the sun, then the moon would no longer fit that definition. The definition of a planet should not depend on its distance from the sun.

If the sun were gone, earth would still be a planet but the moon would not because it would remain in orbit around the earth (and earth is not a star). The moon could only be a planet then if the earth were also gone. Therefore, the moon is in direct orbit around the earth, not the sun.

Almost every moon is bound in orbit to the sun in the sense that if the planet suddenly disappeared, that moon would remain in the solar system. The only exceptions might be moons very close to Jupiter whose velocity around Jupiter combined with Jupiter's orbital velocity would exceed escape velocity from the sun at certain points in its orbit.

But I submit that any smaller object which would remain gravitationally bound to a primary object other than the sun if the sun were gone has an intermediary and is not in "direct orbit" around the sun and is not eligible to be designated a planet. (Certain objects that are merely in orbital resonance with another body around the sun, which would escape that primary body if not for the sun's gravity, such as certain Apollo asteroids which come around one side of the earth and then the other forming an extremely elongated and unstable temporary "orbit" but would fly away if not for the sun bringing it back are in "direct orbit" around the sun and not the earth.)
88 posted on 06/22/2006 7:48:33 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

Here's the thing to do: determine if the celestial body has a function in the astrological charts. If it does it is a planet, the moon, or the sun. If not, it is an asteroid, a moon (not the moon), or a comet. This would make everything beyond Saturn a non-planet unless an astrologer (Persian or Indian) of some repute has a use for it.


89 posted on 06/22/2006 8:14:30 AM PDT by RightWhale (Off touch and out of base)
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To: beezdotcom
we should probably use a different term other than "moon" to describe natural satellites

Galileo's fault.

90 posted on 06/22/2006 8:16:24 AM PDT by RightWhale (Off touch and out of base)
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide
(Certain objects that are merely in orbital resonance with another body around the sun, which would escape that primary body if not for the sun's gravity, such as certain Apollo asteroids which come around one side of the earth and then the other forming an extremely elongated and unstable temporary "orbit" but would fly away if not for the sun bringing it back are in "direct orbit" around the sun and not the earth.)

Example: Cruithne

91 posted on 06/22/2006 8:17:54 AM PDT by steve-b (Hoover Dam is every bit as "natural" as a beaver dam.)
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To: RonF; Gorjus
The point about which both the Moon and the Earth orbit about each other stays about 1000 miles beneath the Earth's surface

Oh YEAH? Say that to my FACE (in about ~108 years or so, when I might actually be RIGHT...gotta remember to watch those decimals...)
92 posted on 06/22/2006 8:18:57 AM PDT by beezdotcom
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To: PatrickHenry; RadioAstronomer

I have some arbitrary standards of my own

1. is the satellite's primary a star?

if no: it ain't a planet
if yes to 1 and 2:

2. Is the body essentially spherical?

if no: it ain't a planet
if yes:

3. does the body in question have sufficient gravity to maintain the stable orbit(s) of natural satellite(s) of its own?

if no: it ain't a planet
if yest to all the above: it IS a planet


93 posted on 06/22/2006 8:33:17 AM PDT by King Prout (many complain I am overly literal... this would not be a problem if fewer people were under-precise)
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To: King Prout
if no: it ain't a planet
if yes to 1 and 2:

2. Is the body essentially spherical?
if no: it ain't a planet
if yes:

need more coffee...

94 posted on 06/22/2006 8:39:27 AM PDT by King Prout (many complain I am overly literal... this would not be a problem if fewer people were under-precise)
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To: Waverunner
Von Strucker must be happy

If the Baron isn't happy, he can always A.I.M. for something better.

95 posted on 06/22/2006 8:49:31 AM PDT by Surtur (Free Trade is NOT Fair Trade unless both economies are equivalent.)
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To: beezdotcom
so we should probably use a different term other than "moon" to describe natural satellites.

In a story dating to the late sixties, one of my older brothers when he was of a single-digit age, asked my mother if the Moon was a planet. She replied, "No, it's a satellite." He looked a little surprised and then asked, "Really? Who launched it."

The funny (or maybe "strange") thing is that when I repeated this story to my girlfriend back in the late 80s, she that it was silly to refer to the Moon as a "satellite". She asked her younger sister to define what a satellite was, and apparently she didn't know that the Moon was a satellite. Sigh. Hello?? This story took place when there were more *natural* satellites in our Solar system than mad-made ones. The definition has kind of changed.

TS
(And this is coming from a guy who had a problem with rationalizing the term "satellite nations" when I first learned about the Soviet Union in 6th grade.)

96 posted on 06/22/2006 8:54:15 AM PDT by Tanniker Smith (I didn't know she was a liberal when I married her.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Thanks for the ping!


97 posted on 06/22/2006 8:56:41 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: RightWhale

So if the Moon is in the 7th house and Jupiter is aligned with Mars . . .


98 posted on 06/22/2006 8:58:12 AM PDT by Tanniker Smith (I didn't know she was a liberal when I married her.)
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To: Tanniker Smith

LOL!


99 posted on 06/22/2006 8:59:40 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Erasmus
And RAM. And disk. And GHz. And bandwidth. And Pixels.

That group sounds like some of Von Strucker's henchmen.

100 posted on 06/22/2006 8:59:46 AM PDT by Surtur (Free Trade is NOT Fair Trade unless both economies are equivalent.)
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