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back to article NASA restores Pluto to league of planets

NASA has rather cheekily joined the campaign to restore Pluto to the solar system's league of planets, following the distant body's demotion to dwarf status back in 2006. The International Astronomical Union's (IAU) decision to relegate Pluto didn't go down too well in some quarters across the pond, largely due to the fact that …

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Balls to the IAU

and also Wikipoedia (sic).

Pluto is and always shall be a dog.

And a little Planet.

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Go

Arf!

Woof woof woofity woof woof!

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Anonymous Coward

Alright

So is Haumea, Makemake, Eris, ... Oh wait, no, these aren't because [insert a valid excuse here that invalidates those but not Pluto, and good luck with that].

These were discovered by Americans as well, so surely they are planets?

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Pint

The fun thing is.

The description of a planet, is that it is sufficiently large enough to clear it's orbit of asteroids.

Then they find yet another asteroid in a horse-shoe orbit

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-04-horseshoe-orbit-earth-companion-asteroid.html

Earth isn't a planet, it's a minor planet.

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Anonymous Coward

@DJ 2

Did you actually read the article you linked to?

"Given that the Earth is larger its gravity will work to pull the asteroid away from the Sun, eventually pulling the asteroid into an orbit which is a greater distance from the sun than Earth."

That sounds like the Earth would clear its orbit of that asteroid to me.

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Coat

Not really a horseshoe orbit...

.. it just looks that way from Earth.

Does that make it a horseshit orbit?

Mine's the one hanging on the stable door

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Read it? yes, understood it, no!

@Norfolk 'n' Goode Did you actually read the article?

You obviously missed these bits;

"A long-lived horseshoe companion to the Earth,"

"The belief of astronomers has been that horseshoe orbits are not stable. However, Christou and Asher have run simulations and they show that SO16 remains in this horseshoe orbit for anywhere from 120,000 to over a million years."

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Wrong

They are all planets because they are large enough to be rounded by their own gravity.

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Paris Hilton

Wiki-image

So what's Ceres doing floating beneath Jupiter in that image then?

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Headmaster

Ceres is in the asteroid belt,

between Mars and Jupiter.

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Anonymous Coward

Old pic....

Although the news item may be new, the graphic is dated 2009 from those lovely people at the 'Jet Propulsion Laboratory' - www.jpl.nasa.gov

Have had it as my wallpaper for a few months....yes, I know....

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Grenade

Brace yourself...

...for the strange (as indicated, usually American) people who feel the need to shout about Pluto still being a planet. Seriously: it doesn't matter what it's called. "Dwarf planet" is just a useful categorisation. If you feel passionately that it's still a planet then call it what you like, just stop whinging to everyone about it and do something useful. I wonder if we'll be hearing from Laurel Kornfeld in this thread...

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Grenade

Alternatively...

....People who don't care that it's not a planet could stop whinging at people whinging that it's a planet.

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Yeah you do have a point there.

If we all start ignoring them then maybe they'll go away. Best not to prod a cornered badger with a pointy stick.

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Thanks for the mention

It is not only Americans who oppose the controversial demotion of Pluto. Opposition to the demotion is based on the very legitimate geophysical definition of planet, which focuses on an object's composition and structure. The IAU definition is based solely on dynamics, classifying objects only by where they are while ignoring what they are. It is inherently flawed in that the further an object from its parent star, the bigger an orbit it has to "clear." If Earth were in the Kuiper Belt, it would not be considered a planet either. This results in the absurdity where the same object would be a planet in one location and not a planet in another. Since someone will undoubtedly raise the issue of spherical moons of planets, according to the geophysical planet definition, these are "satellite planets" because structurally, they are far more like planets than like asteroids. They just happen to orbit other planets. The term "dwarf planet" is a useful categorization only if it is recognized the way it was intended--as an adjective modifying a noun. A dwarf planet is a type of planet just as a dwarf star is a type of star, and a dwarf galaxy is a type of galaxy.

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Joke

Predictable

The IAU always talk out of their Uranus

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Happy

Kudos..

...that was truly groan-worthy.

It's still better than most one-liners on here, so +1.

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Flame

Planet

Pluto is a de facto planet since it was discovered and added to the "known planets" list before the "dwarf" definition was introduced by the IAU. Fine, they can call it a dwarf planet, and beardy boffins can be remain technically correct in their papers. The rest of us can carry on going to Disneyland.

It's like calling a vacuum cleaner a Hoover. Pluto is a planet.

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Anonymous Coward

err

It's called progress, you might call it a planet but you'll be wrong.

Your argument is along the same lines as regarding that the knowledge the earth is flat is de facto (many moons ago) knowledge, so we all might as well just accept that, but those pesky scientists know it's not ;p

Our planet classification was crap. We got a better one.

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Hoovers

I thought vacuum cleaners were called hoovers because they hoover things up?

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Boffin

Hoovers

Vacuum cleaners are called hoovers because of the manufacturer Hoover which established the concept of a domestic vacuum cleaner.

For some reason the manufacturer became the verb.

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FAIL

Made up article

Come on Lester you can do better than this. Just because NASA have an old picture of the solar system which includes Pluto does not mean they are waving two fingers at the IAU. A brief search of the site reveals no campaigns to get Pluto restored as a planet.

The article at http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/what-is-pluto-58.html is rather interesting. Perhaps you should have read it first?

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FAIL

*facepalm*

It was supposed to be a JOKE!

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Likely...

Given that NASA is an American institute, they would be unlikely to wave two fingers at anything, unless they were attempting to indicate a love of peace. For the implied purpose, we (Americans) would be far more likely to employ only a single digit.

Since this article appears to be more for bemusement than for serious enlightenment, I'd say that both the reference to the two finger salutation and the mere facts of the case can be safely ignored in the spirit of enjoyment.

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Anonymous Coward

All in the interest of science

"largely due to the fact that Illinois native Clyde Tombaugh first eyeballed the planet back in 1930."

Yeah, screw facts and let's put pride before all.

Further proof that maybe chucking all this money for all these years to NASA wasn't such a good idea after all. I mean, politically it was great, but maybe it would have been better spent in education (says the guy leaving in a country where I'm not able to afford raising a kid, nevermind sending him to graduate).

Note that the people who originally initiated Pluto demotion were americans, proof that no matter what country you live in, there'll always be some smart sensible people and some dumbasses, sometimes working together. I actually pity the former, especially when the latter is likely to be the boss.

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Grenade

NASA? Increasingly irrelevant

With the last shuttle flight about/possibly/maybe sometime to happen and with no visible replacement in sight AND with funding going down the swanee they are becoming increasingly irrevelant on the world Stage.

I see this as one more nail in the coffin of US tech Leadership. The more that they give 'two fingers' to the rest of the world, the more that the rest of the world will do the same to them. Then the rest of the world will just get on with doing business elsewhere. After all, who wants to do business in a place where even the lawyers need lawyers before they get out of bed in the morning. A place where anyone can sue anyone else without reason.

Grenade. Coz that it what the US sends to its former friends.

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There's one other thing Pluto has going for it

A song by Johnathon Coulton called "I'm Your Moon". It's kind of a love song sung by Pluto's moon Charon. It's also awesome.

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Coat

It's always been a...

Mickey Mouse planet anyway.

Mine's the one with Patrick Moore's autobiography in the pocket.

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LPF
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@hplasm

Word!! Balls to the IAU

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Jad
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Is it just me ...

or do you prefer the wikipedia picture as well?

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WTF?

I don't get it

I still don't get it, are these people making a giant joke and a mockery of themselves, or are they really, seriously arguing over the scientific classification of a ball of rock and ice 30 AU away?

Come on, it's not like Pluto suddenly became less significant and important just because it was classified in a way that makes sense and is consistent with the definitions of space objects.

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Grenade

bah!

It should never have been a planet in the first place!

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Joke

Hey Pluto!

Why not ask Mickey?

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Anonymous Coward

Dwark Planets

Shouldnt there be 7 dwarf Planets

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IAU definition

Is bollocks and I can't imagine it won't be revisited before long. Under their own definition (that a planet must have cleared its own orbit) neither Neptune nor the Earth constitute planets.

A better definition would be something along the lines that a planet is a non-luminous body orbiting a star which has sufficient mass to form a spheroid.

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No it wouldn't

There's a big problem in definining luminosity. If you can't see this, review Predator. As for the orbit-clearance criterion, we can see this as unsatisfactory by reviewing 'Trojan asteroids' and 'Langrangian points'. I wonder if it has occurred to anyone that what we are dealing with here are recursive structures (which as IT people we know all about, right? and simples?).

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Pluto is a planet

No it isn't.

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because...

Pluto is a planet because a dwarf planet is a planet, just as a dwarf person is also a person.

Their mistake not using the term "large planet" for their larger favourites and then getting huffy when the rest of the world doesn't mentally #define planet large-planet.

If the boffins had any sense they'd let us use the term planet and secretly pretend that we were speaking in general terms even though most people wouldn't mean that.

Because Pluto is also REALLY a planet.

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Alien

I for one

welcome our American overlords

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Grenade

American Overlords

You'll have to kill me first. I promise I won't make that particularly easy...

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FAIL

NASA's incompetance grows

Ja call it what you like, how about a galaxy. Pluto is now a galaxy. Just belittle every other achievement made by American Scientists by behaving like a 2 year old. Yes you can also have a planet. There now, everybody is happy. After all Ronald McDonald is a nobel prize winning physicist.

Does this mean that Ceres is also a planet? It also has a moon and is more massive.

Talk about short term gain, long term credibility loss.

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RE: Jeckle

Ceres is more massive than Pluto? Since when? Last I heard at the local brewery, it was still less than a tenth of Pluto's mass.

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Coat

Perhaps he meant Eris?

Eris is larger than Pluto and has a moon.

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Actually that would be

two orders of magnitude smaller by mass.

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Not the case

Eris does have a moon, but it is not larger than Pluto; it is actually marginally smaller. This was determined only in November 2010 when Eris occulted a star. Eris is still more massive than Pluto. None of this changes the fact that according to the geophysical planet definition, in which a planet is any non-self-luminous spheroidal body orbiting a star, both Pluto and Eris are planets, as are Ceres, Haumea, and Makemake. They are planets of the dwarf planet subcategory.

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Headmaster

incompetance = incompetence

Oh, the irony...

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The argument is done, Pluto is not a planet

Just because the Yanks have to be so obsessive about anything ever said, done or seen by a fellow Yank, doesn't make Pluto a planet. We have 4 terrestrials, 4 gas, and one...ball of half-rock, half-ice, whose "moon" isn't even a moon, as the orbital centre is outside Pluto's mass.

If they'd have discovered Ceres first, they'd be calling that a planet, but it isn't, and neither is Pluto. The IAU recategorised the solar system so that new discoveries made sense - science does that. It's a trans-Neptunian dwarf in the recently* mapped Kuiper-belt. Get over it.

*By astronomy's standards

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@Greg

Actually, Ceres was discovered before Pluto. It was discovered on 1 January 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi...and first labelled a planet.

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Alien

Beat me to it

Yes, Ceres was discovered first and was originally classed as a planet according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceres_(dwarf_planet)

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