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Melanie
2003-Jun-18, 02:20 PM
Is there already a useful thread on this topic (whether or not Pluto is a planet)?

Which side is going to win?

Mel.

pmcolt
2003-Jun-18, 02:30 PM
Quick search turned up (watch this link not work)this thread (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4016) in the Against the Mainstream forum.

<famoust last words>Pluto will never lose its status as a planet. There's just too much history and sentiment behind it</famous last words>

informant
2003-Jun-18, 07:54 PM
Here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4012)'s another one.

tracer
2003-Jun-18, 07:58 PM
And, of course, there are two old Brunching Shuttlecocks articles in which Pluto itself was interviewed:

http://www.brunching.com/conversationpluto.html
http://www.brunching.com/morepluto.html

kilopi
2003-Jun-18, 09:13 PM
Which side is going to win?
pmcolt's link is an informal poll, and it shows pretty much a tie, amongst our group. Officially, Pluto is still a planet, but I wouldn't consider that a "win" so much as just the current state of affairs. After all, it's not a matter of winning or losing, it's what is.

Grand Vizier
2003-Jun-19, 12:13 AM
Which side is going to win?
pmcolt's link is an informal poll, and it shows pretty much a tie, amongst our group. Officially, Pluto is still a planet, but I wouldn't consider that a "win" so much as just the current state of affairs. After all, it's not a matter of winning or losing, it's what is.

Very much agreed. The issue only becomes a live one if (some would say when) a Kuiper Belt object larger than Pluto is discovered. You can't retain Pluto as a planet without making that object a planet too (Planet X, in fact :wink: ). Or you can reduce the Solar System to eight planets and consider both of them to be KBOs.

But supposing the new object is much bigger than Pluto (say Mars-sized)? You're then faced with the interesting possibility of demoting Pluto and calling the new one the ninth planet. (I think this last decision unlikely, but it could happen, particularly if a third body - say, just above Pluto's size is discovered (in which case, you'd have to call the two Pluto-sized objects KBOs)).

I think we are way past the idea of regarding the Solar System as the Sun and nine planets - it's much more interesting than that. And to enumerate the 'major planets' offers a handy mnemonic from which we can get a sense of scale, so it's a great teaching tool, but I don't see why anyone (except the astrologers :evil: ) should get unduly worked up about it.

kilopi
2003-Jun-19, 08:18 AM
And to enumerate the 'major planets' offers a handy mnemonic from which we can get a sense of scale, so it's a great teaching tool, but I don't see why anyone (except the astrologers :evil: ) should get unduly worked up about it.
Yeah, but apparently Brian Marsden (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=4606#4606) has been worked up about it for twenty years.

dgruss23
2003-Jun-20, 02:23 AM
And to enumerate the 'major planets' offers a handy mnemonic from which we can get a sense of scale, so it's a great teaching tool, but I don't see why anyone (except the astrologers :evil: ) should get unduly worked up about it.
Yeah, but apparently Brian Marsden (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=4606#4606) has been worked up about it for twenty years.

This gives me an idea for a poll!

ToSeek
2003-Jun-20, 03:05 AM
And to enumerate the 'major planets' offers a handy mnemonic from which we can get a sense of scale, so it's a great teaching tool, but I don't see why anyone (except the astrologers :evil: ) should get unduly worked up about it.
Yeah, but apparently Brian Marsden (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=4606#4606) has been worked up about it for twenty years.

Who is this GrapesofWrath guy who's all over that thread but doesn't seem to be around any more? ;)

kilopi
2003-Jun-20, 11:36 AM
Just another DWG

Or is that DFWGW? :)

Pinemarten
2003-Jun-20, 12:00 PM
It reminds me of the new term for the killer whale: orca.
The whale doesn't care, and it won't change its habits.
Why is this issue important?

kilopi
2003-Jun-20, 02:34 PM
Why is this issue important?
Twenty years ago, apparently, some of the astronomers would forget to check their planet charts, and would misidentify Pluto as a new object, maybe. I seem to remember a legend about a new spy satellite that almost created a threat warning because it detected the rising of an unidentificed object--the moon. Regardless, computers should be able to deal with that particular problem today.

informant
2003-Jun-20, 06:06 PM
Unlike others, I don't think that size will be the determining factor in deciding whether Pluto is to remain a planet or not.
A lot more important is whether it can be regarded as part of the Kuiper Belt: how similar its characteristics are to the ones of KBOs, and how dissimilar are they from those of other "planets".

kilopi
2003-Jun-20, 06:13 PM
A lot more important is whether it can be regarded as part of the Kuiper Belt: how similar its characteristics are to the ones of KBOs
One of those characteristics is size, though. Pluto, right now, is quite a bit larger (approaching an order of magnitude greater mass) than any other KBO.

Melanie
2003-Jun-21, 10:34 AM
okay thanks for (ahem) straightening that out everyone! :wink: