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Thread: Is Pluto about to be reinstated as a planet?

  1. #1
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    Is Pluto about to be reinstated as a planet?

    Some astronomers at Harvard think it's a planet:
    http://www.techtimes.com/articles/17...d-a-planet.htm


    Also...One of the reasons Pluto is not considered a planet by some observers, is because there is debris in its orbit that has not become part of the planet itself. As it turns out, however, Jupiter has a similar problem:

    http://www.exploremars.org/trojan-as...iter-explained

    Roy

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    No, no and no.
    That's been going around so much that the mainstream is debunking it.

    If it doesn't involve the IAU, then it's not true. They are the ones who started the mess in the first place.

    Even though most people want Pluto to be a planet, a lot of this latest hype is due to publicity of New Horizons.

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    What really seems out of date is the old classification system. We now have to add gas dwarfs*, apparently.

    * Spelling rules for dwarfs/dwarves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
    What really seems out of date is the old classification system. We now have to add gas dwarfs*, apparently.
    There's one thing in that article that infuriates me. Who is "the team"? The Kepler team? The people at the Harvard center?
    It's bad enough when an reporter starts using indefinite articles before describing them, but this one doesn't even do that.

    Rant aside. It is an interesting finding that there is a definite difference at those sizes.

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    Wasn't its demotion a certain scientist's vainglorious attempt at being highly recognized for something?

    I wish Pluto would be reinstated as a planet.
    Dip me in ink and toss me to the Poets.

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    I for one am really looking forward to New Horizon's flyby next July

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    Quote Originally Posted by iquestor View Post
    I for one am really looking forward to New Horizon's flyby next July
    Me too!! I read an article last year - speculation that Pluto might have 10 moons. Wouldn't that be awesome?
    Dip me in ink and toss me to the Poets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rtroxel View Post
    Also...One of the reasons Pluto is not considered a planet by some observers, is because there is debris in its orbit that has not become part of the planet itself. As it turns out, however, Jupiter has a similar problem:

    http://www.exploremars.org/trojan-as...iter-explained

    Roy
    That's a bit of a mischaracterization. The phrase "cleared the neighborhood" in the IAU definition is not the best choice of words, but the gist of it is that Pluto is a member of a population of objects sharing similar orbits and similar properties (and possibly similar formation mechanisms). This is not true for Jupiter or any of the other major planets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amber Robot View Post
    That's a bit of a mischaracterization. The phrase "cleared the neighborhood" in the IAU definition is not the best choice of words, but the gist of it is that Pluto is a member of a population of objects sharing similar orbits and similar properties (and possibly similar formation mechanisms). This is not true for Jupiter or any of the other major planets.
    How about this, Buttercup? Pluto has gone from being the least in its class to arguably the most important. It's a promotion!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
    How about this, Buttercup? Pluto has gone from being the least in its class to arguably the most important. It's a promotion!
    Well, that is certainly a more optimistic view of the "demotion" of Pluto than most people put on it.

    Whatever we call it, it is still the same, and it is still an interesting object to study.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
    How about this, Buttercup? Pluto has gone from being the least in its class to arguably the most important. It's a promotion!
    Hmmm. An interesting thought, but I'm not quite sold on it.

    Would still like to trip that scientist (as he's walking down a hallway or whatever).
    Dip me in ink and toss me to the Poets.

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    I wonder how many people got their panties in a twist when Ceres was demoted to asteroid after being a planet for 50 or so years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amber Robot View Post
    I wonder how many people got their panties in a twist when Ceres was demoted to asteroid after being a planet for 50 or so years.
    Noted.
    Dip me in ink and toss me to the Poets.

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    The IAU should not let general public opinion, much of it poorly informed scientifically, stampede them into nullifying the reclassification. It would be a good idea to revise the wording of the "clearing" criterion to stop the erroneous interpretation of it as excluding Jupiter.

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    I'm not sure why people call it a demotion anyway. It's a change in classification and that's it. We invented a term that better described what Pluto actually is and that's what we call it now.

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    As one wise man suggested, aliens surveying our solar system might well note: "Yellow star: Four planets plus debris."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Wasn't its demotion a certain scientist's vainglorious attempt at being highly recognized for something?
    Mike Brown? While he takes a certain amusement in poking fun at the whole thing (calling himself Pluto killer and etc.), the reclassification of Pluto was not done on his bidding or input. His (and others') discoveries of other objects out in that neck of the solar system were catalysts, is all. I don't find him remotely "vainglorious."

    CJSF
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    See the constellation ride across the sky. No cigar, no lady on his arm.
    Just a guy made of dots and lines."
    -They Might Be Giants, "See The Constellation"

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    As one wise man suggested, aliens surveying our solar system might well note: "Yellow star: Four planets plus debris."
    Only if those aliens' home planet was a gas giant. If they were from an Earth-like planet, they wouldn't say that.

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    Yellow star, Four planets, debris and 4 gas bubbles?

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    As I recall, the main impetus for the change was that other trans-Neptunian objects were discovered that were close to the same size as Pluto, and one that was even larger than Pluto. It made us realize that there are possibly many objects out there that could be called "planets" under the old definition.

    If you think about it, Pluto is very strange when compared to the other planets. The eight planets all have orbits that are much more concentric, and they all orbit in the same plane. Pluto not only has a very elongated orbit compared to the planets, but it also crosses the orbit of a planet and it goes both above and below the plane of the solar system. Those three facts alone are enough for me to make a distinction between Pluto and the eight planets.

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    Also, Pluto "got smaller" every time they got a better measurement of it.

    Remember, it was once a sizable-but-invisible Planet X affecting the orbits of Neptune and Uranus. When spotted, it was found to be small and dim. Along the way, a missed occultation caused estimates to be downsized. More lately, it's been found that part of its estimated diamater was really Charon.

    Had they somehow known its true size back in 1930, I wonder if they'd have called it the Ninth Planet, or just considered it an asteroid (or two) on the loose?

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    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    I'm not sure why people call it a demotion anyway. It's a change in classification and that's it. We invented a term that better described what Pluto actually is and that's what we call it now.
    This. Not sure why so many are so upset about Pluto's 'demotion'. There's nothing to be upset about IMO.

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    Even before things came to a head at the 2006 IAU convention, there were planetary scientists saying that Pluto never would have been classified as a major planet if its small size had been recognized in 1930. If I am not mistaken, improved observations have shown that the reputed perturbations of Uranus, which were used by Lowell and Pickering to infer a large planet, were spurious.

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    I'm in agreement with the demotion. I just think that "dwarf planet" for a smaller non-planet is an incredibly stupid and clumsy designation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    As I recall, the main impetus for the change was that other trans-Neptunian objects were discovered that were close to the same size as Pluto, and one that was even larger than Pluto. It made us realize that there are possibly many objects out there that could be called "planets" under the old definition.

    If you think about it, Pluto is very strange when compared to the other planets. The eight planets all have orbits that are much more concentric, and they all orbit in the same plane. Pluto not only has a very elongated orbit compared to the planets, but it also crosses the orbit of a planet and it goes both above and below the plane of the solar system. Those three facts alone are enough for me to make a distinction between Pluto and the eight planets.
    Here's a stray thought:

    If Pluto's orbit goes within Neptune's orbit, then at that point, Pluto is no longer a trans-Neptunian object.

    Roy

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    Quote Originally Posted by rtroxel View Post
    Here's a stray thought:

    If Pluto's orbit goes within Neptune's orbit, then at that point, Pluto is no longer a trans-Neptunian object.

    Roy
    Well, "trans-" means "across", does it not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rtroxel View Post
    Here's a stray thought:

    If Pluto's orbit goes within Neptune's orbit, then at that point, Pluto is no longer a trans-Neptunian object.

    Roy
    A trans-neptunian object is something that crosses the orbit of Neptune.

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    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    A trans-neptunian object is something that crosses the orbit of Neptune.
    Yes, it does. I have been enlightened.

    Roy

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    So what is the proper designation? That it's exo-Neptunian except for the relatively short period wherein it's intra-Neputnian? If it's the only one of the plutonian-class bodies that are occasionally closer than a legitmiate planet, maybe that does warrant special treatment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    So what is the proper designation? That it's exo-Neptunian except for the relatively short period wherein it's intra-Neputnian? If it's the only one of the plutonian-class bodies that are occasionally closer than a legitmiate planet, maybe that does warrant special treatment.
    It's not. We don't know how many there are. But Eris may be larger than Pluto, also has a moon, and also crosses Neptune's orbit.

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