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Scientists 1 Pluto 0

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Castor27, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. Castor27

    Castor27 Moderator
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    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060824/ap_on_sc/planet_mutiny_10

    Astronomers say Pluto is not a planet
    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, has nicknamed "Xena."

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

    Brown was pleased by the decision. He had argued that Pluto and similar bodies didn't deserve planet status, saying that would "take the magic out of the solar system."

    "UB313 is the largest dwarf planet. That's kind of cool," he said.
     
  2. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    So, why isn't Neptune disqualified?
     
  3. A-Train

    A-Train Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]

    Pluto gets no respect...
     
  4. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

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    What about Uranus? :D Sorry, I couldn't resist.
     
  5. ArtV

    ArtV Contributing Member

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    Those crazy astronomers...what a bunch of cut-ups!
     
  6. Castor27

    Castor27 Moderator
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    My guess is because Pluto infringes on Neptune's orbit. Neptune's orbit is normal
     
  7. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    Planetary discrimination must come to a stop.
     
  8. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    My Very Evil Mother Just Served Us Nothing for dinner.
     
  9. SwoLy-D

    SwoLy-D Contributing Member

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    Man, in Mexico I learned a cool song to sing the names of the planets... WTF M I going to teach my kids now? :mad:

    Just take Plutón out?
    "mercurio-venus-tierra-marte-jupiter-saturno... urano-neptuno-y-NADA..." :(
     
  10. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    That seems arbitrary. Is Neptune's orbit normal because it is like the other planets'? If a planet is supposed to be able to clear the neighborhood around its orbit, why can't it take out Pluto? I'm sure some astronomer can bs a good reason why Neptune still counts -- wait, I'm related to one, I'll just go ask him!
     
  11. macalu

    macalu Contributing Member

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    thanks for spending millions of dollars to tell us that. i'll sleep much better now.
     
  12. Saint Louis

    Saint Louis Member

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    This just in, Pluto excomminicated from solar system for associating with other dwarf planets. Neptune pleads the 5th about being seen in Pluto's neighborhood.
     
  13. MR. MEOWGI

    MR. MEOWGI Contributing Member

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    Some years ago, astronomers at the Naval Observatory constructed a computer called the 'Digital Orrery' which calculated the positions of the outer planets every 40 days or so, for the next billion years.

    Even though the orbits of Pluto and Neptune intersect, they are locked in a gravitational resonance condition which seems to prevent them coming closer than a few 100 million miles of one another. The above computer simulation of thousands of Pluto orbits is made relative to a frame or reference that orbits with Neptune. It shows that although Pluto's orbit is complex, it can never get very close to Neptune itself because of the detailed ways in which energy is transferred between the planets, gravitationally.

    http://www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/q364.html
     
  14. DrLudicrous

    DrLudicrous Contributing Member

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    Who you represent? I represent the smallest planet
    Attorney in this tourney versus those who’ve tried to ban it
    If you don’t agree go see Interplanet Janet
    Cause sun is star, like Pluto is planet
    Lend me all your ears and let me state my case
    About all the types of satellites you must embrace
    Cause like my parents, great grandparents
    This planet was an immigrant
    To deport it makes no sense
    It’s an upstanding member of the solar system
    Apply the laws of earth and make it a victim
    Of Proposition 187
    When Pluto spawns a moon it will apply to the heavens
    I will damn thee like Judas of Iscariot
    If you demote this mote remote to affiliate
    It’s like taking ET’s custody from Elliot
    Support your Lilliput, cause simply put

    Pluto is a planet

    Do it for the children



    -2 Skinnee J's - Pluto
     
  15. rrj_gamz

    rrj_gamz Contributing Member

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    Goes from possibly 11 planents to 8...

    No Pluto is dummo...
     
  16. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    While that's cool and all, I still don't see why Pluto's relationship with Neptune disqualifies Pluto, but not Neptune. It's like when a two people commit adultery in some Muslim country and only the woman gets stoned.
     
  17. univac hal

    univac hal Contributing Member

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    Nice story.. to me, shows what good science is all about

    http://today.reuters.com/News/CrisesArticle.aspx?storyId=N24440274

    Pluto discoverer would understand demotion -widow
    Thu 24 Aug 2006 12:26 PM ET

    WASHINGTON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - The astronomer who found Pluto would have understood why his discovery was demoted to non-planet status because he was a good scientist, his widow said on Thursday.

    "Clyde said, 'Well, it's there. You can do what you want with it,'" Patricia Tombaugh, 94, said from her home in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

    Her husband Clyde W. Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930 while working at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, was disappointed and frustrated when scientists began questioning its status.

    But she said: "Clyde would have said, 'Science is a progressive thing and if you're going to be a scientist and put your neck out, you're apt to have it bitten upon.'"

    Tombaugh said a tiny amount of her husband's ashes were on a spacecraft bound for Pluto.
     
  18. univac hal

    univac hal Contributing Member

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    Perhaps because Neptune is larger and judged to have an more independent orbit? I don't know. I actually think the new definition stinks, to be honest :D It's slightly arbitrary, and far too vague. They really should have done better..
     
  19. MR. MEOWGI

    MR. MEOWGI Contributing Member

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    I was just trying to show why Neptune doesnt "take out" Pluto.
     
  20. underoverup

    underoverup Member

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    yeah it's just like that................. :rolleyes:
     

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