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Pluto in danger
2006-08-13 19:18
by Bob Timmermann

The International Astronomical Union is meeting in Prague to decide, among other things, just what is a planet and whether or not Pluto still qualifies as one.

I'd rather Pluto lose its status as a planet because I've found it very hard to visit there as the connecting flights are a real bear and since you can't take liquids on the flights now because of the terrorism threats, I get dehydrated on those flights.

If the IAU has time, they will ask some of the radio telescope folks if they can identify any trace evidence of a clutch hitter in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

2006-08-13 19:39:08
1.   Greg Brock
Pluto is not a planet. It's a stupid little ball of ice. It spins around with it's stupid little moon. That makes two stupid little balls of ice.

I don't like Pluto. It's my Frank Robinson.

2006-08-13 19:47:04
2.   Ravenscar
Bob -

I'm starting to think you are a sci-fi fan.

I'm actually starting to think Neshak of the Twins is an alien, from watching him pitch.

2006-08-13 20:49:59
3.   Jon Weisman
The New Yorker recently did a very long story about this, focusing on a Caltech scientist. The story covered every imaginable aspect except for the one reason why many people have sentimental attachments to Pluto. They think it was named after a dog.
2006-08-13 20:54:24
4.   Nagman
Sorry to be way off topic, but Bob, had you heard about this? Sounds like good Griddle material. Sorry if it's already been discussed:

2006-08-13 21:22:14
5.   DougS
Meh. If Gustav Holst didn't consider it a planet, it's not a planet. :-)
2006-08-13 21:36:13
6.   Icaros
Mickey Mouse's dog vs. Popeye's nemesis.
2006-08-13 21:55:10
7.   Bob Timmermann
The IAU hasn't tried to reason with Disney's Intellectual Property lawyers I guess.
2006-08-13 22:24:54
8.   Linkmeister
6 C'mon, Icaros, we're gonna have to cut off your spinach. Popeye's nemesis was Bluto, not Pluto.

5 Oh, well done.

2006-08-14 11:40:43
9.   Icaros

Do you really think I didn't know that?

2006-08-14 13:54:48
10.   FreddyMack
The gravitational equasion works regardless of whether we call Pluto a planet or not.

There are essentially three things that people try to ascribe to a planet ... 1) it orbits a star. 2) it was created when the star was created. 3) it has sufficient gravity to form a spherical shape organized in concentric layers.

#1 and #2 are not in dispute. The concern is whether you can describe planetary formation theories regarding something that has a different "form". Clearly, if many of the asteroids in the Kuyper belt fell together to create a spherical body with enough gravity to create layers of formation, it would be a planet.

My opinion ... it is a planet in the making. The moons are organizing themselves to combine with Pluto. A couple impacts on them could destablize the mutual gravity and make a bigger, better formed Pluto.

2006-08-14 14:25:08
11.   Bob Timmermann
But how does Duane Kuiper fit into the equation?
2006-08-14 14:38:25
12.   Greg Brock
10 Interesting perspective. My astronomy professor asserted that Pluto's extreme orbit off the ecliptic, its "orbit dance" with Neptune, and it's non-gas giant status means it was probably an escaped moon from Neptune, or Kuyper belt detritis.

Either way, he was decidedly anti-Pluto. I respect that.

2006-08-14 16:18:56
13.   DougS
10 And a useful reminder that cosmological time and the human sense of time are very different indeed. I'd never thought of it in that way, either.

11 Objects in the Kuyper Belt don't hit a lick for power. But they are deft at scooping up cosmic debris with the gloved hand and hurling it back toward the inner solar system.

2006-09-08 15:39:04
14.   Bluebleeder87

that sounds pretty smart to me, i'll go with that thought as well.

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