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View Full Version : Tyson and Sykes Duke Out the Great Planet Debate; Flatow Almost Flattened



Fraser
2008-Aug-15, 01:40 AM
A debate today between astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson and planetary scientist Mark Sykes, moderated by NPR's Ira Flatow, addressed the issue of Pluto's planetary status. There was lots of arm-waving and finger-pointing, endless interruptions, disagreements on details big and small, and battling one-liners. The two scientists sat at a table with the moderator between [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/08/14/tyson-and-sykes-duke-out-the-great-planet-debate-flatow-almost-flattened/)

Neverfly
2008-Aug-15, 02:24 AM
Tyson, who thinks Pluto is a comet, wants to start over with new and better words and definitions.
Say again?



which Sykes said was a little "goofy." In order to be a planet, an object has be bigger the farther away it is from the sun, and it ignores the physical characteristics.
Heh Heh Heh...

01101001
2008-Aug-15, 03:10 AM
Say again?


"Pluto, being half ice by volume, should assume its rightful status as the King of the Kuiper Belt of comets," says Neil Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.

From National Geographic: Pluto: Planet or Comet? (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/02/0216_Pluto.html) (February 2001)

Neverfly
2008-Aug-15, 03:42 AM
A comet with Moons...

If he's going to claim that Pluto doesn't fit the criteria as a planet- it's amazing he could begin to attempt to classify it as a comet!!

Van Rijn
2008-Aug-15, 07:28 AM
A comet with Moons...


Some asteroids have moons. Why shouldn't a comet have moons? What to you is the distinction between comets and asteroids?



If he's going to claim that Pluto doesn't fit the criteria as a planet- it's amazing he could begin to attempt to classify it as a comet!!

Why?

One big problem with all this stuff is that almost any classification scheme is going to be fuzzy on the edges, and it gets difficult to describe useful distinctions. Pluto is like other KBOs, quite a number of which have taken close passes to the sun. When we see them, we call them "comets."

Related to the classification problem, we also don't have clear definitions for a lot of words. Until recently, "planet" simply referred to nine of the largest known objects in the solar system orbiting the sun, but that was essentially arbitrary. They were just big enough to be noticed, and substantially larger than other known sun orbiting objects. For that matter, "comet" and "asteroid" don't have clear definitions, and when is there a "natural satellite" or "moon" or just debris?

Van Rijn
2008-Aug-15, 07:32 AM
By the way, this news story is well worth reading. Nicely presented.