The Dwarf King
If we are forced to accept that it's a dwarf planet, and as we now know it is King, can we rename it to Durin? Or how about Goldemar?
As astroboffins prepare themselves for the arrival of data from New Horizons' nearest approach in its Pluto fly-by, the little probe has already revised opinion about how big/small the planet/dwarf planet really is. Pluto won't get to recover its lost status as a planet, but NASA's New Horizons team has confirmed that at 2,370 …
In keeping with naming after gods of the Roman pantheon, it might have to be something like Bes. A dwarf god originally of ancient Egypt but, like many others, adopted into the Roman Empire. Popular among the legions, it seems.
Might even be fitting: the "foreign non-planet" is "adopted" into the pantheon of the "proper" planets.
"That's still smaller than Earth's moon, at 3,475 km – so sorry, Pluto fans, you still won't persuade academic astronomy to upgrade it back to being called a planet."
Even if it were larger than Jupiter, Pluto would not be a planet by the IAU definition, not having cleared its orbit of other objects. On the other hand, of course, any object with the mass of Jupiter would have done so pretty early on. The IAU definition also has no definition based on size as such, only that the object to be called a planet would have to be in near hydrostatic equilibrium, i.e., shaped near-spherically due to the gravity induced by its own mass.
I am somewhat saddened by the many people who insist on categorising Pluto as a planet, when the reason the IAU formed a group to hammer out a binding definition of the term "planet" for the first time was the discovery not only of many approximately Pluto-sized objects beyond Neptune (the TNOs or Trans-Neptunian Objects, most of which turned out to be part of what is now called the Kuiper Belt), but also that there are several objects co-orbiting with Pluto which are not orbiting Pluto at the same time.
The IAU did not, as I once heard from a fellow hobby astronomer, "vindictively downgrade Pluto," but they for the first time defined what a planet actually is. Pluto, if you so will, was unlucky in falling through the grid by not fitting one of the three criteria. Case closed, get over it.
All that said, I am following the incoming data on the first TNO ever explored at relatively close range with high anticipation. This is already very interesting, and will become more so as New Horizons will continue sending the data being gathered during the Pluto encounter over the next two years.
I grew up with Pluto as a planet. Now it is a TNO. That's fine with me. They can call it anything that works (except for calling it 'late for dinner', as my Nana used to say, though not about Pluto in particular). I'm more disturbed by the reaction to what is essentially a semantic change, than the change itself. People! The actual object isn't effected by what we call it in one particular language at one particular point in time! And it will still be there long after the last traces of humanity are subducted back into the Earth's mantle.
The actual object isn't effected by what we call it in one particular language at one particular point in time!
Says someone who isn't the least concerned about Pluto's feelings. It can really take it out of someone to suddenly be lumped in with a crowd just because you've got a big family and are a bit short.
It's no surpirse the more we know, the more differences we found, and classifications get updated.
There are speculations that some large bodies, much larger than Pluto and up to Earth size, may lurk in the dark between the Kuiper belt and the Oort Cloud.
If any of these is ever found, our definition of "planet" may change again.
The Earth has failed to clear away that pesky Moon. Mars is being trailed by several rocks. Saturn, duh.
I'm somewhat saddened by organizations that make a move based on incorrect info, backtrack on the precise name, and then can't even come up with a self consistent definition. Major display of FAIL going on there.
"...still smaller than Earth's moon, at 3,475 km – so sorry, Pluto fans, you still won't persuade academic astronomy to upgrade it back to being called a planet."
Ganymede and Titan (moons) are both larger than Mercury (planet).
Inconsistent twaddle. Almost as bad as the Astrologers.
In 'World of Ptavvs', Niven had a star-system-controlling artefact (a telepathy-expanding) helmet that, once worn, would allow the wearer to telepathically dominate every being in the star system.
Lost on Pluto - with a neat twist which makes landing to get it a bit tricky (I wonder if that still applies?) - was the MacGuffin of the story.
So, King of the TNO's, with a legend of a crown already in place.
The not-first one to Pluto's a... telepathically-dominated human being!
In other news, arbitrary definition of "planet" is arbitrary. I prefer to define "planet" as "orbiting the sun but not as a moon of another planet" and "round" (reserving the right to exclude accidentally spherically shaped pebbles). I promise not to be bothered by whatever definition the boffins choose to agree upon as long as they leave me alone to use mine and that's that.
In my day we ad a proper solar system. 9 planets, a bunch of asteroids and comets.
Not loike these modern solar systems you gets these days with all them politically correct TNOs.
And rings. Only Jupiter ad rings, now every bleedin upstart gassy giant got one.
Where's that amanfrommars chappie? What appened to your canals then?
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