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Thread: Pluto loses status as a planet

  1. #1
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    Pluto loses status as a planet

    Pluto gets the boot
    Pluto no longer a planet, say astronomers

    Thursday, August 24, 2006; Posted: 10:27 a.m. EDT (14:27 GMT)

    PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) -- 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.

    After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930. The new definition of what is -- and isn't -- a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one.

    Although astronomers applauded after the vote, Jocelyn Bell Burnell -- a specialist in neutron stars from Northern Ireland who oversaw the proceedings -- urged those who might be "quite disappointed" to look on the bright side.

    "It could be argued that we are creating an umbrella called 'planet' under which the dwarf planets exist," she said, drawing laughter by waving a stuffed Pluto of Walt Disney fame beneath a real umbrella.

    The decision by the prestigious international group spells out the basic tests that celestial objects will have to meet before they can be considered for admission to the elite cosmic club.

    For now, membership will be restricted to the eight "classical" planets in the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

    Much-maligned Pluto doesn't make the grade under the new rules for a planet: "a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

    Pluto is automatically disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's.

    Instead, it will be reclassified in a new category of "dwarf planets," similar to what long have been termed "minor planets." The definition also lays out a third class of lesser objects that orbit the sun -- "small solar system bodies," a term that will apply to numerous asteroids, comets and other natural satellites.

    It was unclear how Pluto's demotion might affect the mission of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which earlier this year began a 91/2-year journey to the oddball object to unearth more of its secrets.

    The decision at a conference of 2,500 astronomers from 75 countries was a dramatic shift from just a week ago, when the group's leaders floated a proposal that would have reaffirmed Pluto's planetary status and made planets of its largest moon and two other objects. (Watch why some think planet size doesn't matter -- 3:39)

    That plan proved highly unpopular, splitting astronomers into factions and triggering days of sometimes combative debate that led to Pluto's undoing.

    Now, two of the objects that at one point were cruising toward possible full-fledged planethood will join Pluto as dwarfs: the asteroid Ceres, which was a planet in the 1800s before it got demoted, and 2003 UB313, an icy object slightly larger than Pluto whose discoverer, Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology, has nicknamed "Xena."

    Charon, the largest of Pluto's three moons, is no longer under consideration for any special designation.

    Brown was pleased by the decision. He had argued that Pluto and similar bodies didn't deserve planet status, saying that would "take the magic out of the solar system."

    "UB313 is the largest dwarf planet. That's kind of cool," he said.

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  2. #2
    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    Good. Pluto always did look weird to me. Shifty eyes, crooked fingers, and a scowl suggesting 3 rows of teeth. I'm glad it's no longer one of us.
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    Senior Member Eszekial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiloMike
    Good. Pluto always did look weird to me. Shifty eyes, crooked fingers, and a scowl suggesting 3 rows of teeth. I'm glad it's no longer one of us.
    I know exactly what you mean. Stupid pluto got what it deserved.
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    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eszekial
    I know exactly what you mean. Stupid pluto got what it deserved.
    It's now a "Dwarf plant". I do rather like how some groups are ready to self-correct.
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    Toughest Man in the World Bruise Brubaker's Avatar
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    It seems that every once in a while, Pluto stops being a planet...

    I don't think there is any "official" list of planets.

    Just like once in a while, we're told that there are other planets beyond Pluto...

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    Moving on up!! mikej's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruise Brubaker
    It seems that every once in a while, Pluto stops being a planet...

    I don't think there is any "official" list of planets.

    Just like once in a while, we're told that there are other planets beyond Pluto...
    Actually... that's what this was meant to correct. They wanted to come up with formal rules for what constitutes a "planet". The problem was any definition that included Pluto also included like 3 other celestial bodies and probably others too. So they went with a stricter definition that ultimately ended up snubbing Pluto. Now Pluto isn't a planet anymore.

    Grade-schoolers everywhere must be in a panic this morning.

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    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    That's what they get for naming it for a fictional Disney character who can't even talk. Psha!
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    Banned bjohnso's Avatar
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    This is bull****.

    I want this decision reversed immediately.

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    shot a man in reno Mik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiloMike
    It's now a "Dwarf plant".
    To be PC should it not be "little planet"?

  10. #10
    Moving on up!! mikej's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjohnso
    This is bull****.

    I want this decision reversed immediately.
    Maybe you could sue them in space court.

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    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mik
    To be PC should it not be "little planet"?
    Still too blunt. Perhaps "size challenged planet"?
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  12. #12
    shot a man in reno Mik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiloMike
    Still too blunt. Perhaps "size challenged planet"?
    Oh, wait I know.....picayune planet. Eh? Eh?

  13. #13
    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mik
    Oh, wait I know.....picayune planet. Eh? Eh?
    You don't seriously expect people to be able to pronounce that, do you?

    If you go foreign then the Russian equivalnt would be perfect: planietochka (accent on the "ie")
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  14. #14
    shot a man in reno Mik's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=TwiloMike]You don't seriously expect people to be able to pronounce that, do you?
    [QUOTE]

    I use the term daily.

  15. #15
    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mik

    I use the term daily.
    That makes you very special.
    Last edited by TwiloMike; 08-24-2006 at 12:04 PM.
    Homer Simpson - "The code of the schoolyard, Marge! The rules that teach a boy to be a man. Let's see. Don't tattle. Always make fun of those different from you. Never say anything, unless you're sure everyone feels exactly the same way you do."
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  16. #16
    shot a man in reno Mik's Avatar
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    You have no idea!

  17. #17
    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mik
    You have no idea!
    The only possible reply to that, other than the explanation I'm writing, would have been deemed "too flirtatious" by some mods. HA!
    Homer Simpson - "The code of the schoolyard, Marge! The rules that teach a boy to be a man. Let's see. Don't tattle. Always make fun of those different from you. Never say anything, unless you're sure everyone feels exactly the same way you do."
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  18. #18
    shot a man in reno Mik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiloMike
    The only possible reply to that, other than the explanation I'm writing, would have been deemed "too flirtatious" by some mods. HA!
    Thanks for holdin back!

  19. #19
    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mik
    Thanks for holdin back!
    No problem.

    Back OT: Does this mean that school kids get to cross out Pluto in their text books?
    Homer Simpson - "The code of the schoolyard, Marge! The rules that teach a boy to be a man. Let's see. Don't tattle. Always make fun of those different from you. Never say anything, unless you're sure everyone feels exactly the same way you do."
    www.dictionary.com (for all your spell-checking needs)
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  20. #20
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    Pluto, you will always be a planet to me.

    And fortunately for Pluto, mine is the opinion that truly counts.

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    A.K.A Goodwinner Goodwinm's Avatar
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    oh damn. Now ive gotta get a new astronomy wall chart lol
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    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    Great, now I have to replace my battery operated light up model of the solar system that I have prominently displayed in my living room!
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  23. #23
    A.K.A Goodwinner Goodwinm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guido
    Great, now I have to replace my battery operated light up model of the solar system that I have prominently displayed in my living room!
    aww dude. there there...

    Does this mean that Disney's Pluto Dog has to be renamed?
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    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goodwinm
    Does this mean that Disney's Pluto Dog has to be renamed?
    No, he's just been downgraded to a cat.

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  25. #25
    Not Done Yet ShockBoxer's Avatar
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    Better to lose one planet than potentially gain dozens if not hundreds. 8's company, 500 is a crowd.
    Last edited by ShockBoxer; 08-24-2006 at 04:39 PM.
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