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Astronomers say Pluto is not a planet (Eight Planets)
Yahoo ^

Posted on 08/24/2006 7:18:05 AM PDT by Lunatic Fringe

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight.

After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930. The new definition of what is — and isn't — a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one.

Although astronomers applauded after the vote, Jocelyn Bell Burnell — a specialist in neutron stars from Northern Ireland who oversaw the proceedings — urged those who might be "quite disappointed" to look on the bright side.

"It could be argued that we are creating an umbrella called 'planet' under which the dwarf planets exist," she said, drawing laughter by waving a stuffed Pluto of Walt Disney fame beneath a real umbrella.

The decision by the prestigious international group spells out the basic tests that celestial objects will have to meet before they can be considered for admission to the elite cosmic club.

For now, membership will be restricted to the eight "classical" planets in the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Much-maligned Pluto doesn't make the grade under the new rules for a planet: "a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

Pluto is automatically disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's.

Instead, it will be reclassified in a new category of "dwarf planets," similar to what long have been termed "minor planets." The definition also lays out a third class of lesser objects that orbit the sun — "small solar system bodies," a term that will apply to numerous asteroids, comets and other natural satellites.

It was unclear how Pluto's demotion might affect the mission of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which earlier this year began a 9 1/2-year journey to the oddball object to unearth more of its secrets.

The decision at a conference of 2,500 astronomers from 75 countries was a dramatic shift from just a week ago, when the group's leaders floated a proposal that would have reaffirmed Pluto's planetary status and made planets of its largest moon and two other objects.

That plan proved highly unpopular, splitting astronomers into factions and triggering days of sometimes combative debate that led to Pluto's undoing.

Now, two of the objects that at one point were cruising toward possible full-fledged planethood will join Pluto as dwarfs: the asteroid Ceres, which was a planet in the 1800s before it got demoted, and 2003 UB313, an icy object slightly larger than Pluto whose discoverer, Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena has nicknamed Xena.

Charon, the largest of Pluto's three moons, is no longer under consideration for any special designation.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: iausolarsystem; planets; pluto; prague; xplanets
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1 posted on 08/24/2006 7:18:06 AM PDT by Lunatic Fringe
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To: KevinDavis

Space ping!


2 posted on 08/24/2006 7:22:21 AM PDT by Lunatic Fringe (Man Law: You Poke It, You Own It)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Wait til the Plutonians hear about this. They're gonna be pissed, blame Bush and start a galactic jihad.


3 posted on 08/24/2006 7:22:29 AM PDT by RedCell ("...thou shalt kill thine enemy before he killeth you by any means available" - Dick Marcinko)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

There are still 9 in my book.


4 posted on 08/24/2006 7:24:47 AM PDT by cripplecreek (If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

"My Very Elegant Machine Just Smashed Up Nine." ???


5 posted on 08/24/2006 7:25:51 AM PDT by hauerf
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To: cripplecreek

This is a wise decision.

Pluto was always a nutty anomaly, with its orbit, and later its asymmetric appearance.

It always seemed more like an asteroid.


6 posted on 08/24/2006 7:26:39 AM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: Lunatic Fringe

I'm shocked..........





shocked


7 posted on 08/24/2006 7:28:45 AM PDT by Fighting Irish (Béagán agus a rá go maith)
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To: hauerf

Mother Very Thoughtfully (Terra) Made a (asteroid belt) Jelly Sandwich Under No Protest!


8 posted on 08/24/2006 7:31:27 AM PDT by 50sDad (ST3d: Real Star Trek 3d Chess: http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~abartmes/tactical.htm)
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To: Lunatic Fringe
Nine planets, eleven plants, now eight planets.

These guys count planets like I do my income taxes.
9 posted on 08/24/2006 7:32:07 AM PDT by Fido969 ("The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax." - Albert Einstein)
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To: AFPhys

Personally I would consider an object with an atmosphere that orbits the sun a planet. Moons would still be moons because they orbit planets.


10 posted on 08/24/2006 7:35:52 AM PDT by cripplecreek (If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?)
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To: Lunatic Fringe


Heck, everybody knows Pluto is not a planet! LOL
11 posted on 08/24/2006 7:36:38 AM PDT by kellynla (Freedom of speech makes it easier to spot the idiots! Semper Fi!)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Good riddance. I've always hated this oversized potato.


12 posted on 08/24/2006 7:38:57 AM PDT by cartan
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To: Lunatic Fringe
Dang, just when I got used to the idea the earth wasn't flat... now they take a planet away.  So now I have to teach my grandchildren "My Very Excited Mother Just Showed Me Nine."  They're going to ask me nine 'what' I'm sure.

13 posted on 08/24/2006 7:39:51 AM PDT by HawaiianGecko (Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.)
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To: Fido969

On ABC radio news the reporter just got finished with the story, and sent it back to the anchor with, "...so now children will be reciting eight planets. Can you name them, Doug?"

"Let's see: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus. This is ..., ABC news"

LOL!

I'm not sure if he just can't count?...LOL

Typical FRAUDcaster.


14 posted on 08/24/2006 7:41:24 AM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: Lunatic Fringe; kellynla
Pluto ....... relegated to only man's best friend.

Not bad.

15 posted on 08/24/2006 7:45:04 AM PDT by beyond the sea (Oh good .............. it's August 24th and we're still here. Who'd a thunk it?)
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To: HawaiianGecko
"My Very Excited Mother Just Showed Me Nine..."

Oops I mean "My Very Excited Mother Just Showed Us Nine..."  Maybe I shouldn't be teaching them anyway.


16 posted on 08/24/2006 7:47:45 AM PDT by HawaiianGecko (Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.)
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To: Lunatic Fringe
Pluto is automatically disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's.

Doesn't that mean that Neptune too, the orbit of which must overlap Pluto's is also not a planet? Especially since it's orbit overlaps Pluto's, Neptune has failed to have "...cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

17 posted on 08/24/2006 7:50:44 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze
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To: Lunatic Fringe

I have'nt been this upset since they declared that Dagobah was not a planet.


18 posted on 08/24/2006 7:51:46 AM PDT by KC_Conspirator
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To: Lunatic Fringe

That means I can have it?


19 posted on 08/24/2006 7:53:01 AM PDT by blam
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Mother Visits Every Monday and (asteroid belt) Just Stays Until Noon.

(The "Period" was Pluto. I'd say it's small status in the sentence, foretold it's doom as a planet!)


20 posted on 08/24/2006 7:54:12 AM PDT by News Junkie (Faith and Reason)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Pluto is now open to colonization by muslim terrorists without the need of civil war and elections. Let's help them get there!


21 posted on 08/24/2006 7:57:14 AM PDT by verbal voter
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To: KC_Conspirator

Sounds to me like someone wants to sell books.

This change will necessitate changes.


22 posted on 08/24/2006 7:57:48 AM PDT by Loud Mime (An undefeated enemy is still an enemy.......war has a purpose.)
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To: AFPhys
Pluto was always a nutty anomaly, with its orbit, and later its asymmetric appearance.

Absolutely, this was the most reasonable decision. I was disheartened a couple of weeks ago when they were going to say there were 12 planets, including Pluto, and the Plutons, yadda, yadda. This definition makes the most sense.

23 posted on 08/24/2006 8:01:07 AM PDT by Paradox (The "smarter" the individual, the greater his power of self-deception.)
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To: kellynla

"Mickey's a mouse, Donald's a duck, Pluto's a dog... what's Goofy?"

"Goofy is a dog, he's definitely a dog!"

"He can't be a dog, he wears a hat and drives a car."


24 posted on 08/24/2006 8:03:59 AM PDT by Thrusher ("...there is no peace without victory.")
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Here he is, waiting to hold a press conference.

25 posted on 08/24/2006 8:04:19 AM PDT by Paradox (The "smarter" the individual, the greater his power of self-deception.)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Thought they were going for 12 and went the other way to head down to 8.
Guess they are not into make-jobs for future astronomers.


26 posted on 08/24/2006 8:05:36 AM PDT by rod1
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To: Lunatic Fringe

I almost went to Prague, because my dad's an astronomer and was invited to the IAU meeting, but we didn't get our passports in time. Anyway, I kinda saw this coming: Somehow I knew they'd declare Pluto not to ba a planet. My dad, however, says if he were there, he would've voted to keep the solar system at 9 planets.


27 posted on 08/24/2006 8:06:21 AM PDT by G8 Diplomat
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To: Sgt_Schultze

No despite it orbitary clutter, Neptune is OK. But it may be subject to urban renewal or possibly even confiscation by right of imminent domain.


28 posted on 08/24/2006 8:08:10 AM PDT by rod1
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To: Lunatic Fringe

hey,hey,...hey...(giggle) How about Uranus?...hee heee hee(giggle)


29 posted on 08/24/2006 8:10:29 AM PDT by Carl LaFong (Anything spoken or written by Winston Churchill.)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

I guess they will now do away with Scorpio from Astrology. It was ruled by Pluto!

Bye-bye scorpios!!


30 posted on 08/24/2006 8:13:43 AM PDT by billygoatgruff
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To: Thrusher

Heck, I see "dogs" wearing hats & driving cars evvvvvery day. LOL


31 posted on 08/24/2006 8:16:10 AM PDT by kellynla (Freedom of speech makes it easier to spot the idiots! Semper Fi!)
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To: Carl LaFong
So, uh...what color is Uranus? And how big is it?

I hear Uranus has a methane atmosphere.

32 posted on 08/24/2006 8:17:07 AM PDT by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Modern "science" is now become the result of one form of an opinion poll or another.

1. Global warming is considered "real" because a significant number of scientists think it's man's fault. Not because of studies or experiments. Just a show of hands from the properly chosen group of "scientists."

2. Katrina was a result of global warming, a new poll shows. Who cares about actual meteorology?

3. Abortion is not considered murder. Don't bother with facts, like DNA that differs from the mother. Just a show of hands from the properly chosen group of "doctors."

4. If we don't have embryonic stem cell research, we'll never cure paralysis. Never mind the fact that adult stem cells are ready for approved treatment for over 70 kinds of ailments and embryonic stem cells have only caused cancer in lab rats. But the public demands it! polls say.

5. And now Pluto is not a planet. We couldn't wait 10 years until a probe is sent there to learn more about it. Forget the science...we need a vote, and we need it now!


33 posted on 08/24/2006 8:27:05 AM PDT by kidd
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To: Lunatic Fringe

They're just mad cuz they can't get a space craft there. This way, they can take the "planet" title away and not feel like they "failed". Pffft.

Pluto will always exist in my book.


34 posted on 08/24/2006 8:28:05 AM PDT by Lucky9teen (Ask not what the government can do for you. Ask why it doesn't.)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

"Pluto could not be reached for comment."


35 posted on 08/24/2006 8:31:16 AM PDT by trumandogz
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To: Lunatic Fringe

And no refernce to "dwarf tossing"? Has Free Republic gone PC?

Heaven forfend!


36 posted on 08/24/2006 8:33:40 AM PDT by Blagden Alley
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Maybe the astronomers were music lovers who wanted to keep Gustav Holst's most famous composition accurate.


37 posted on 08/24/2006 8:34:43 AM PDT by yawningotter
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To: RedCell
Wait til the Plutonians hear about this.

T-t-t-t-h-ey're t-t-t-t-oo d-d-d-amn c-c-c-old to do anything about it!

38 posted on 08/24/2006 8:35:20 AM PDT by relictele
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To: Carl LaFong

uh..huhihihihihhuh.... you said ," Youranus"

huhuhuhuhuh

39 posted on 08/24/2006 8:37:47 AM PDT by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: kidd

You forgot string theory: 40 plus years without a testable prediction, unless you count the existence of the 'dilaton', a massless scalar field not observed in nature. An awful lot of the 'research' in string theory is adding bells and whistles to 'explain' why the dilaton field is not observed.


40 posted on 08/24/2006 8:44:16 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: Sgt_Schultze

I think that by the standards stated by the leader of the
group(I guess)--you are correct. Neptune has not cleared
Pluto, therefore Neptune is not a planet either.
But maybe Neptune and Pluto haven't been around long enough
for that to happen, maybe at some time in the future, pluto
will be cleared out by Neptune, and have its own even larger
orbit, and maybe less eccentric, and both Neptune and Pluto
will become planets again.


41 posted on 08/24/2006 8:56:14 AM PDT by Getready (Truth and wisdom are more elusive, and valuable, than gold and diamonds)
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To: Lunatic Fringe
Instead, it will be reclassified in a new category of "dwarf planets," similar to what long have been termed "minor planets."

The term "dwarf" is pejorative and offensive and therefore politically incorrect.

They should call them "differently sized" planets.

42 posted on 08/24/2006 8:57:18 AM PDT by Bubba_Leroy (What did Rather know and when did he know it?)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Has Pluto hired a lawyer yet?


43 posted on 08/24/2006 8:59:19 AM PDT by jim_trent
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To: cripplecreek

Three moons, round with an atmosphere- Mercury only has one of those qualities. Any change in status for Pluto should have been put off until the arrival of the New Horizons space probe- then astonomers would be better equipped to make a decision as to what Pluto really is.

I am glad they didn't upgrade Charon to "dwarf planet" as had been discussed. That would have requried upgrades for the Moon, Io, Europa, Callisto, Ganameade, Titan and Triton as well.


44 posted on 08/24/2006 8:59:56 AM PDT by bobjam
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To: Sgt_Schultze
Doesn't that mean that Neptune too, the orbit of which must overlap Pluto's is also not a planet? Especially since it's orbit overlaps Pluto's, Neptune has failed to have "...cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

Yeah, that's the part of the definition that bothers me. I agree that a planet should have sufficient mass for its gravity to force it into a nearly round shape. But the part about clearing its neighborhood is going to make the definition hard to apply, particularly outside of this solar system.

For example, we are doubtlessly going to discover large planets in other solar systems with overlapping orbits, shared orbits and binary planets. This definition would could rule out some massive gas giants from being considered planets.

45 posted on 08/24/2006 9:06:30 AM PDT by Bubba_Leroy (What did Rather know and when did he know it?)
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Oh well, so ends our system's Plutonic relationship.


46 posted on 08/24/2006 9:08:00 AM PDT by jpl (Victorious warriors win first, then go to war; defeated warriors go to war first, then seek to win.)
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To: Sgt_Schultze

In terms of distance from the sun, Pluto overlaps Neptune because for 20 years (1979 to 1999) of its 250 year orbit is is closer to the sun. However, it is important to note that the plane of Pluto's orbit is at an angle to the plane occupied by the other planets and major asteroids.


47 posted on 08/24/2006 9:08:00 AM PDT by bobjam
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To: Lunatic Fringe

Well then just what the hell is My Very Educated Mother supposed to Just Serve Up Nine of???
HUH???
WHAT??
TELL ME WHAT!!!


48 posted on 08/24/2006 9:11:19 AM PDT by calljack (Sometimes your worst nightmare is just a start.)
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To: Bubba_Leroy
They should call them "differently sized" planets.

How about "gravitationally challenged" planets?

49 posted on 08/24/2006 9:13:40 AM PDT by laker_dad
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To: Lunatic Fringe

"It was unclear how Pluto's demotion might affect the mission of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which earlier this year began a 9 1/2-year journey to the oddball object to unearth more of its secrets."

moronic statement. it is on its way and will do the studies it was sent to do. i seriously doubt the course it is on allows any modification, even if it is capable of it.


50 posted on 08/24/2006 9:15:36 AM PDT by WoofDog123
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