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Pluto's Demotion to be Polite?

08/12/2006 10:00 AM

It is now known for quite some time that our ninth planet, Pluto, is actually part of the Kuiper belt. The largest, recent discovery in the Kuiper belt is 2003 UB313, nicknamed Xena. It has led scientists to question the definition of the term "planet", as it is larger than Pluto and has already been called a tenth planet by some sources. The current expectation is that the largest Kuiper belt objects, including Pluto, may be relabeled "dwarf planets" or something like it. The answer is apparently due in September.

Author Robert Roy Britt of LiveScience Blogs says: "If all goes as it should — meaning if astronomers can put aside their quibbles and vote "yes" — in 20 years Pluto will probably still be popular with children, but rather than being known as the ninth planet, it'll be known as the first object ever discovered in that sea of dozens or maybe even hundreds of dwarf planets that will have been found by then."

Read more in: Polite Demotion

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The Engineer
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#1

Terrible

08/12/2006 1:18 PM

I don't know what's worse, the fact that we have a KBO named after a TV show character, or that the character isn't Kirk, Bones, or Spock.

For historical reasons, they should keep Pluto a planet. If I had to figure out the whole electricity is in the direction of positive charge flow even though it's moving negative charges that are the current then the kids will have to deal with this planet issue.

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#2

plutos demotion

08/13/2006 5:40 PM

Iner or rocky planets Gas planets Outer planets- kiper bodys Number????

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#3

Is Pluto a planet?

08/14/2006 1:20 AM

What is ther in a name? But of course terms should be well defined in science. Is it not better to say that bodies massive enough to become spherical are planets? Pluto is definitely a planet in this sense. If there are other spherical bodies beyond Pluto why not give them all the title "Planet".

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#4

Pluto demoted

08/14/2006 8:43 AM

So, Pluto's a dwarf? That makes bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy...... and Pluto. I don't think the synergy quite works. Anyway, in these days of political correctness gone maaaad, surely that should be a planet of restricted mass?

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#5
In reply to #3

Re:Is Pluto a planet?

08/14/2006 9:01 AM

I think, in my opinion anyway, that if we just decided to lable everything that we view orbiting our sun, that is spherical in shape, a planet; then it's just a matter of time when our students will have to study/learn/memorize the 20 or 50 or 500! planets in our solar system. Not to say that we should limit our definition or a planet on the fact that there might be toooo many names to remember... but it seems absurd to have to re-write the text books in terms of the number of planets (which may become hundreds if we include KBO's).

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#6
In reply to #1

Re:Terrible

08/14/2006 9:11 AM

"If I had to figure out the whole electricity is in the direction of positive charge flow even though it's moving negative charges that are the current then the kids will have to deal with this planet issue." Quoted. Amen! I hated knowing that I began college learning that current flowed from "black to red" (meaning negative to positive). Then when I started taking some electronics and physics courses at higher levels... I actually (re)learned that current is caused by moving charges (aka electrons!), from the excess source of negatively charged particles to the deficiency of the negative charge. And then to top that, I was then taught, after this from an educated electronics instructor, that we define current by means other than electron flow! Something about how and when power is absorbed/created... altered... or whatever. WTF! Man was I pissed! I still view current as the flow of electrons... and I don't care what anybody else has to say about that. If you take away the electrons... THERE'S NO CURRENT... PERIOD!

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The Engineer
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#7
In reply to #6

Re:Terrible

08/14/2006 10:10 AM

I hear ya. It all started because current was discovered long before the electron and the scientists from that time thought current was the movement of positive charges. By the time they realized their mistake 100 years later, it was too late, the convention was entrenched.

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#8
In reply to #5

Re:Is Pluto a planet?

08/16/2006 11:37 PM

Biologists have to remember thousans of terms which define different species, sub branches etc. Quiet frightening! But there must be some logical reason for calling something a planet. Science is not about how school children would learn it. It is about a real Universe and how best to make sense about it. " Everything needs to be as simple as possible; but not simpler" as Einstein put it.

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