August 24, 2006


Astronomers Say Pluto Is Not a Planet (The Associated Press, August 24, 2006)

Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight.

This will go exactly as well as when they tried foisting metrics on us.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 24, 2006 11:00 AM

You forgot to blame this on the nativists.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 24, 2006 11:08 AM

Nativism is Darwinist, not astronomic.

Posted by: oj at August 24, 2006 11:13 AM

Actually, the astrologers should welcome this, as it allows them off the hook for all their bad horoscopes for the past 70 years. Those astronomers misled them into including Pluto and overstaing its influence and character. Just wait for the cottage industry in "properly recast" horoscopes which show that they'd have gotten it right if the astonomers hadn't been such dupes.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 24, 2006 11:18 AM

They can remove Pluto from the list of planets when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.


Posted by: jefferson park at August 24, 2006 1:48 PM

Less than two weeks ago there was an article that stated that with new definitions of what a planet is, we would have up to 12...which is it?

Posted by: Bartman at August 24, 2006 1:49 PM

Whichever you want it to be.

Posted by: oj at August 24, 2006 1:55 PM

It was silly to include Pluto in the first place. I read recently that there were over 50 potential planets in the solar system if they kept to the Pluto definition, including Charon. The scientists can define things however they like but Joe Sixpack isn't going to consider a moon to be a planet.

It has been kind of funny watching astronomers go berserk over something that has nothing to do with science in the sense of discovering anything. This is pure classification.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 24, 2006 3:39 PM

This discussion is embarassingly stuoid. Changing a thing's name does not change what it is. That would be just too gay.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 24, 2006 4:34 PM

Well, homocentric at any rate.

Posted by: oj at August 24, 2006 4:43 PM

The proposed rule that disqualifies Pluto, viz., that the body be large enough to have cleared their neighborhood of other objects, which Pluto fails because its orbit goes inside Neptune and it therefore hasn't cleared Neptune from its vicinity, would equally disqualify Neptune. However, this rule would also disqualify at the least Mars, Jupiter, and Neptune because of their trojan objects (planetoidal objects at the L4 and L5 Lagrange points in the same orbit).

Posted by: jd watson at August 24, 2006 10:35 PM

There are asteroids that cross the orbits of all eight planets. (Check out the Apollo and Amor class definitions). The point is that there's no belt like the one between Mars and Jupiter or the one beyond Neptune. That Pluto is simply the object with the combination of being one of the largest and one of the innermost, which made it so easy to detect it took half a century to find the next member of the class. (The same sort of thing happened with the asteroids, whose numbers were stuck at 4 for decades).

Fixing a mistake made decades ago can be hard. Stare decisis isn't science, especially when sentimentality gets in the way.

But I'm surprised no one has objected to "dwarf planet". Shouldn't that be "little people planet" or "hobbit planet"?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 25, 2006 12:13 AM
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