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The Engineer
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10 Planets or 8 Planets?

02/01/2006 4:10 PM

Scientists are now reasonably sure that the newly discovered Kuiper Belt Object called 2003 UB313, is larger than Pluto by a few hundred miles in diameter. 2003 UB313 is now known to be about 1,860 miles (3,000 kilometers) in diameter, give or take 190 miles (300 kilometers. Pluto is only 1430 miles in diameter.

The size of the KBO renews the debate of what should constitute a planet. If size is the only consideration, that would mean that we would have 10 planets or 8 planets now. If proximity is taken into account, then there is some justification for only 9 planets. Still, with our deeper understanding of the Kuiper Belt, it is becoming clear that there are tens of thousands of objects orbiting the sun.

I personally think we should stick to tradition and have 9 planets. The rest can be called KBOs or other designations. Either way there will probably be a few more of these planet sized KBOs out there waiting to be discovered.

If it is a planet, it would be cool if they named it a Roman God or Goddess like the rest. My suggestion is Janus - Roman God of Doorways, Beginnings and Ends, since this would be near the end of the Solar System. Anyone else have suggestions?

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#1

Janus

02/02/2006 6:37 AM

I second the motion. Janus is a cool sounding name, with a good definition.

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#2

Sedna

02/02/2006 9:25 AM

Just for my own clarification, this is not Sedna, it's a different celestial body, correct?

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The Engineer
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#5
In reply to #2

Re:Sedna

02/07/2006 11:16 AM

Actually, this is a different KBO. They are unofficially calling it Xena, and yes, it's named after the tv show from the 90's.

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#3

Eight planets plus

02/02/2006 9:57 AM

From what I understand, Pluto was named a planet, but should actually be classified as a KBO. Perhaps we let Pluto ride the fence on this one, but acknowledge the fact we have eight real planets.

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#4

Maybe 10 - definitely not 8

02/02/2006 2:15 PM

For my whole life Pluto has been a planet - I see no reason to "de-planet" it. Pluto is not a moon of any other body in the Solar System, so its not simply a celestial body. I orbits the sun, so that in my mind makes it a planet. The question though, is whether or not to call anything in its proximity that is the same size or larger a planet, as well. Of course, my definition leaves it wide open as to whether any other bodies should be planets. What about objects in the Kuiper belt or the Oort sphere (if it exists)? What would be an appropriate standard?

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