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Object Bigger than Pluto Discovered, Called 10th Planet


Kedas
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Astronomers have discovered an object in our solar system that is larger than Pluto. They are calling it the 10th planet, but already that claim is contested.

 

It is the first time an object so big has been found in our solar system since the discovery of Pluto 75 years ago.

 

Position: about 3 times sun-pluto distance, inclination 45°

 

The new world's size is not at issue. But the very definition of planethood is.

 

Alan Boss, a planet-formation theorist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, called the discovery "a major step." But Boss would not call it a planet at all. Instead, he said Pluto and other small objects beyond Neptune should be called, at best, "Kuiper Belt planets."

 

source:

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/050729_new_planet.html

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I find it wrong that they didn't let out the information to the general public right away. It's not like we can do anything to the planet at this time.

 

At least we have kewl hackers to thank. Maybe black hats aren't that bad after all.

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Techincally speaking, there should be either 8 planets or 11 planets. Don't forget if you take Pluto into account you'd also have to consider the recently found object "Sedna" as a planet.

 

The dispute is because we have no precise definition of the word, planet, till now.

 

I read a very interesting article on nytimes about it:

 

Too Many Planets Numb the Mind

 

When a Caltech astronomer, Michael Brown, announced last year that his team had found a distant object three-fourths the size of Pluto orbiting the Sun, he declined to call it a planet, and he even suggested that Pluto should not be considered a planet either. There was, he said, just no good scientific rationale for considering either of those distant bodies in the same league as the eight indisputable planets that circle the Sun at closer range.

 

Now Dr. Brown has found something orbiting the Sun that's bigger than Pluto and even farther away. He's changed his mind and proposed that Pluto keep its designation, and that the new object, an extremely big lump of ice and rock, should also be deemed a planet. There is still no good scientific rationale for the judgment, he admitted, but this is a case where habit - 75 years of calling Pluto a planet - should trump any scientific definition.

 

There is no real debate that the four terrestrial planets - Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars - and the four gaseous giants - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune - deserve their status as planets. But scientists have long been uneasy about including Pluto, an icy ball smaller than our Moon, whose orbit is more eccentric than the others and tilts in a different plane.

 

Try as they might, scientists could not come up with a definition that would retain Pluto as a planet without requiring that scads of other objects be deemed planets as well. Nor could they satisfy the legions of space enthusiasts who remain certain from their grade school lessons that there are nine planets - no more, no less.

 

So now Dr. Brown proposes that scientists give up the battle and accept a cultural definition of what a planet is. It's either the nine planets we learned about in grade school, or those nine plus any new-found object orbiting the Sun that turns out to be bigger than Pluto. He opts for the latter approach on the theory that most people, deep down, accept that definition. This definition would also, of course, qualify Dr. Brown for the historical footnotes as the discoverer of a new planet.

 

Our own preference is to take a cleaner way out by dropping Pluto from the planetary ranks. Scientists may well discover many more ice balls bigger than Pluto, and it's a safe bet that few in our culture want to memorize the names of 20 or more planets. Far better to downgrade Pluto to the status of an icy sphere that was once mistakenly deemed a planet because we had not yet discovered its compatriots on the dark fringes of the solar system.

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Can't they come up with a new designation for these ice-ball worlds? Something along the lines of Subplanet (less than / nearly / inferior) or Paraplanet (beyond / closely resembling)?

 

Wouldn't that be a tolerable medium? "Yeah, they're sorta-like planets, but they're not real planets... just really big snowballs that share a few planetary features..."

 

Would it be too hard to for kids to learn that "our star system is composed of eight planets and three Para/Subplanets" ???

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Can't they come up with a new designation for these ice-ball worlds? Something along the lines of Subplanet (less than / nearly / inferior) or Paraplanet (beyond / closely resembling)?

 

*ahem* we already have a world' date=' i.e, [b']planetoid[/b]. :D

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yes, but planetoids include asteroids, and don't necessarily share planet-like characteristics (which Pluto, and supposedly those two other giant iceballs do). Their only real criteria is that they be larger than meteoroids, meaning they be more than ten meters or so across. I feel it would be best to create an intermediary.

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Asteroids are small, rocky and largely misshapen. What sets these ice worlds apart is their immense size (relatively) and spherical shape, which some claim is a necessary trait to be designated as a planet.

 

And I get what you're saying about the public, but as times goes on, we're going to discover more and more new things out there. We're going to have to name them classify them, group them up, and won't simply be able to lump them into the same old categories just because it will be easier for the public to comprehend. No matter what the public thinks, it still needs to be properly classified among the experts.

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Yeah that's true, but i remember when people wanted to change Pluto's classification, people went crazy(i still don't understand why) it got ot a point to where their was talk on capital hill about it... And if we called it a planet, what would we name it? Hercules? or would we switch to Norse mythology and call it Odin or Loki or something?

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I hate it when media and politicians get worked up over things that don't really concern them... the only way I see that'd it work is if there was all sorts of good press for the event, like a bunch of scientists coming on camera saying how "we're so happy that Pluto and its ilk are finally being given a proper classification, while maintaining planetary status of a brand new type." All it needs is media attention with a good spin.

 

EDIT: Maybe the public would get more into the idea if the astronomy people held a nation/world-wide vote to choose one of the new names for an Iceball from a list of proposals.

 

And if we called it a planet, what would we name it? Hercules? or would we switch to Norse mythology and call it Odin or Loki or something?

I don't see why we shouldn't. We should start naming planets after gods from all sorts of mythologies - Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Babylonian, etc etc. Anyway, I think the name should fit the world, so something like "Hercules" would be way out of place for any of the little iceballs. Didn't Norse mythology have a pantheon of Ice Giants? Or we could start naming all "Iceball Planets" after underworld and death gods from a number of civilizations.

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I don't quite understand. What would be wrong with calling it a planet? That's a problem because kids in school will have to remember another name? So what. I had to memorize tons, and tons...and tons of information that I have never used after doing so. If the kid doesn't remember the name of that planet 20 years later, so what, obviously he hasn't chosen a field where that would be important. If the kid does go into the field, planet names are hardly even the beginning of what he will have to memorize. I say, call it a planet, and be done with it.

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Heh, you're talking about scientist here, they like having sub group a with sub group b and etc. They don't know the meaning of simple. and in the public it will be called a planet, its just in science circles they need a definition. The only thing normal people care about is keeping Pluto's status as a planet.

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They don't know the meaning of simple.
I disagree. I feel that making distinctions and classifications simplifies the job of udnerstanding planets, rather than complicates it. I think it should be obvious to anyone that a terrestrial world is enormously different from a jovian world, and is even more different from a pluto-like world it certain regards. It's just like stars.

 

People look into the sky and say "what a pretty star," and they're done with it. An astronomer lookes up and makes distinctions between red giants, supergiants, blue stars, neutron stars, white dwarves and main-sequence stars. A common non-sciency person might not care about the distinctions, but they're enormously important to the experts.

 

In order to understand something, you first must know its nature, where it comes from, what its made of, its natural history. By classifying planets into distinct categories, it actually simplifies the astronomer's job. I think of it like buying a car. In essence, they're all just automobiles, but by breaking them down into groups, such as models and brands, it makes it easier to decide which you want, based on what you know about those models.

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I disagree. I feel that making distinctions and classifications simplifies the job of udnerstanding planets' date=' rather than complicates it. I think it should be obvious to anyone that a terrestrial world is enormously different from a jovian world, and is even more different from a pluto-like world it certain regards. It's just like stars.

 

People look into the sky and say "[i']what a pretty star[/i]," and they're done with it. An astronomer lookes up and makes distinctions between red giants, supergiants, blue stars, neutron stars, white dwarves and main-sequence stars. A common non-sciency person might not care about the distinctions, but they're enormously important to the experts.

 

In order to understand something, you first must know its nature, where it comes from, what its made of, its natural history. By classifying planets into distinct categories, it actually simplifies the astronomer's job. I think of it like buying a car. In essence, they're all just automobiles, but by breaking them down into groups, such as models and brands, it makes it easier to decide which you want, based on what you know about those models.

 

 

Hey i was joking, I understand the reasoning behind the debate of what it should be called.

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:embarass: Sorry if I came on a little strong. I know you get it Darkky (mind if I call you Darkky?)... The rant itself was intended to be directed at Scholtzy, to try and show why classification is so meaningful. Your post just seemed like a good reference point.
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