The Planet Pluto

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 11:04 am

      I’m sad that it has been downgraded. It was one of my favorites.


    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 1:10 pm

      Hey M,

      I know. Haven’t we lost enough? Now a planet. Just never stops.
      Ok, back to logic. Pluto did get lucky in a way. Those same scientists can make a real strong case too, that Pluto is an astroid, and it could very well end up having that done over time. Let’s see how long it can hang on to Dwarf Planet status. Still a strong lobby for full planet status, and I just love to hear the wrangling going on inside that community.:D

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 1:29 pm

      My opinion is that Pluto has been a planet for 76 years, they could have at least “grandfathered” it as a planet. Then said that any body not fitting their new deffinition of a planet, not given the full status as such.

      The first time I heard that they downgraded it, I felt that those “oh so smart” scientist needed to come up with the new mnemonic for remembering the order of the planets, but the very next day I figured it out.

      Instead of: …………………….use this:
      [B]M[/B]y ………………………………[B]M[/B]y
      [B]V[/B]ery …………………………….[B]V[/B]ery
      [B]E[/B]nergenic ………………………[B]E[/B]nergenic
      [B]M[/B]other …………………………[B]M[/B]other
      [B]J[/B]ust …………………………….[B]J[/B]ust
      [B]S[/B]erved …………………………[B]S[/B]erved
      [B]U[/B]s ………………………………[B]U[/B]s
      [B]N[/B]ine …………………………….[B]N[/B]achos
      (it didn’t like me seperating them with just spaces)

      just a thought, but I think I will continue to use the original. To me Pluto will always be a planet, no mater what they try and tell us.

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 2:32 pm

      Dear Friends:

      Pluto never was a planet and should never have been classified as one in the first place. It’s discoverer called it a planet in order to make himself more important. Its eccentric orbit will one day make it a moon of Neptune or part of Neptune. Our own moon is twice as large as Pluto and there are seven moons in our solar system which are larger than Pluto. So if you want to call Pluto a planet, why wouldn’t Io, Europa, Ganymede, Calisto, or Titan be planets, as well. I always heard it refered to as a Kuiper Belt Object for the past 10 years, so calling it a dwarf planet or a planetoid is a bit of an upgrade. Personally, I always thought that a planet had to orbit on the ecliptic of the sun. Pluto’s orbit is more similar to an asteroids orbit. Pluto retained it’s planetary status for 70 years for sentimental reasons more than anything else. Sentiments don’t hold a whole lot of sway in the scientific community. It makes sense to use a scientific criteria to determine what is or isn’t a planet, and the more you look at the science, the less Pluto looks like a planet.



    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 3:33 pm

      I feel about Pluto the same way I feel about Paul Newman. It is wonderful to know he is there.


    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 4:10 pm

      it was one of my favs too, marge.:(

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 5:30 pm


      I think women get all sentimental about planets. Men, on the other hand, are definitely from Mars though I’ve started a rumor that “our men” are really Klingons.


    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 5:42 pm

      Pluto will always be a planet in my heart, no matter what they downgrade it to. The Jerks:(

    • Anonymous
      September 3, 2006 at 12:23 am

      [COLOR=red]From space dot com:[/COLOR]
      [IMG][/IMG] [FONT=Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=3][COLOR=#1b4872][B]Pluto: Down But Maybe Not Out [/B]
      [FONT=Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=1][COLOR=#333333][B]By [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5DRobert Roy Britt[/COLOR][/URL][/B]
      LiveScience Managing Editor
      [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=arial,helvetica][SIZE=1][COLOR=#330066]posted: 31 August 2006
      02:38 pm ET[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
      If you did not like Pluto’s demotion, don’t give up hope.
      Arguments over the newly approved definition for “planet” are likely to continue at least until 2009, and astronomers say there is much that remains to be clarified and refined.
      While it is entirely unclear if [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dthe definition[/COLOR][/URL] could ever be altered enough to reinstate [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5DPluto%5B/COLOR%5D%5B/URL%5D as a [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dplanet%5B/COLOR%5D%5B/URL%5D, astronomers clearly expect some changes.
      In a statement today, the largest group of planetary scientists in the world offered lukewarm support for the definition, which was adopted last week by a vote of just a few hundred astronomers at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly meeting in Prague.
      Lukewarm support
      The definition basically states that the eight worlds from [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5DMercury%5B/COLOR%5D%5B/URL%5D to [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5DNeptune%5B/COLOR%5D%5B/URL%5D are planets, and that Pluto and other small round objects in the outer solar system are not planets but will be referred to as dwarf planets.
      The wording has been [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dheavily criticized[/COLOR][/URL] as being vague and arbitrary and failing to include planets around other stars. One highly controversial aspect is the idea that a planet must control a zone of space by clearing it of other objects. In fact, [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5DEarth%5B/COLOR%5D%5B/URL%5D and some of the giant planets have not cleared their paths—[URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dasteroids%5B/COLOR%5D%5B/URL%5D cross the planetary orbits frequently and in some cases orbit in lockstep with the planets.
      Nonetheless, the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) “recognizes the authority of the IAU to render a decision,” today’s statement reads. “All definitions have a degree of fuzziness that requires intelligent application: what does ’round’ really mean? What does it mean to ‘control a zone’?”
      The statement suggests there are at least three years of wrangling ahead:
      “These are technical issues to be addressed by Division III of the IAU, currently chaired by Ted Bowell, a fellow DPS member. There is still work to be done, too, in constructing a definition that is generally applicable to extra-solar planetary systems. These and other changes, radical or moderate, presumably will be addressed at the [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dnext IAU General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro in 2009[/COLOR][/URL], and the DPS community will continue to be involved in all stages of this process.
      [[I]UPDATE 9:10 p.m. ET:[/I] A separate group of more than 300 astronomers announced today they [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dwill not use the new definition[/COLOR][/URL].]
      Lack of authority?
      Other astronomers have said or indicated that the IAU decision might not carry much weight.
      David Morrison, an astronomer at NASA’s Ames Research Center, was in Prague for the debates and the vote. He called the resulting definition “reasonable” but termed the IAU process “highly convoluted.”
      “The definition of a planet is not primarily a science issue. Scientists can (and often do) use all sorts of jargon,” Morrison told [I][/I]. “This issue is of interest because non-scientists, including writers of science textbooks, want a definition. Now they have one. But it is not obvious to me that planetary scientists will adjust their terminology because of the IAU votes.”
      The IAU’s final proposal was lambasted by many astronomers for having been slapped together at the last minute and for not adhering to recommendations from two separate committees. Morrison was on an IAU [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dcommittee of astronomers[/COLOR][/URL] that debated for months on a definition proposal. The one they adopted, Morrison said, was approved by the committee in a vote of 11-8. But it never saw the light of day. Ultimately, [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Danother committee of seven[/COLOR][/URL], including historians, was formed by the IAU, and the [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dsecond committee’s proposed definition[/COLOR][/URL] was [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dscrapped too[/COLOR][/URL], in the last moments in Prague.
      “Is Pluto, then, still a planet? Yes and no,” Morrison said. “The answer is semantic, based on whether dwarf planets are planets, just as dwarf pines are pines. I would say that Pluto is a planet, but it is a dwarf planet, and the first example of the class of trans-Neptunian dwarf planets.”
      Lack of science
      The whole debate, many astronomers say, has [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dlittle if anything to do with science[/COLOR][/URL].
      Geoff Marcy, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, has led the discovery of dozens of [URL=””%5D%5BCOLOR=#0000ff%5Dplanets outside our solar system[/COLOR][/URL]. “The astrophysics of planetary bodies is so rich and complex that defining ‘planet’ has never been an issue under discussion among professionals,” Marcy said in an email interview earlier this week.
      Pressed on whether the definition made any sense, Marcy said: “It makes no scientific sense to have a definition that pertains only to our solar system and not to other planetary systems.”
      The DPS represents 1,300 astronomers, about a third of them from outside the United States. Today’s statement included a phrase that hints at the discontent felt among many members and the likelihood that all is not said and done:
      “Ultimately, the definition of a planet will come through common usage and scientific utility. There is no need to throw away current school texts; Pluto has not gone away.”

    • Anonymous
      September 3, 2006 at 12:35 am

      [COLOR=red]Lee [/COLOR]

      [COLOR=#ff0000]I believe(I could be wrong) that Pluto only orbits the Sun. The others you mentioned orbit planets in addition to the Sun. They are classifed as Moons, right. [/COLOR]

      [COLOR=#ff0000]Could Pluto be an escaped moon of Neptune or an escapee from the Kuiper belt? Pluto has three tiny moons orbiting it[/COLOR]
      [COLOR=red]Does that make it a planet? I dunno![/COLOR]
      [COLOR=red]But I say give Pluto back it’s title![/COLOR]

    • Anonymous
      September 3, 2006 at 5:27 am

      Hoory for Planet Pluto.


    • Anonymous
      September 3, 2006 at 1:53 pm

      Dear Dave:

      You are correct that the other bodies orbit planets, but Pluto and Charon have a complex orbit as well. Charon orbits around Pluto rather quickly, but over a longer period, Pluto orbits Charon. This binary orbit is a result of a relatively close distance between the pair and the relatively equal mass of the two. This binary orbit even further weakens Pluto’s status as a planet.

      I do agree with you that Pluto isn’t going anywhere and anyone can consider it a planet if they want to. The truth of the mattter is that most astronomers haven’t considered Pluto a planet for a very long time. They only now just got around to changing a classification which should have been changed decades ago.