How is Pluto not like Uranus? No, not a bad joke.

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by stock777, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. PRAGUE (Reuters) - Despite being the farthest planet from Earth in our solar system, Pluto has come under attack from astronomers and may be about to lose its status in the battle.

    Some 3,000 astronomers and scientists from around the world will meet in Prague this week to decide whether Pluto, discovered in 1930, measures up to the definition of a planet.

    In defining for the first time what exactly a planet is, the International Astronomers Union (IAU) may be forced to downgrade Pluto's status, or add as many as 14 others.

    Such a decision would send shockwaves through the scientific community, instantly outdate textbooks, and cause educators to re-teach the basics of our solar system.

    "The pivotal question is the status of Pluto, which is clearly very different from Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune," Owen Gingerich, professor of Astronomy and History of Science emeritus a the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told Reuters.

    Debate has raged within the scientific community over the status of Pluto for decades after the planet was found to be only one four-hundredths of the mass of the earth.

    That discussion intensified in 2003 when astronomers at the California Institute of Technology discovered UB 313. Nicknamed Xena after the character in the television show, UB 313 is one of more than a dozen celestial bodies in our solar system found to be larger than Pluto.

    Xena and Pluto are large icy bodies that reside in the Kuiper Belt -- where thousands of floating bodies travel -- beyond Neptune. Images from the Hubble Space Telescope put Xena's diameter at 1,490 miles or so. That is slightly bigger than Pluto, which measures 1,422 miles across.

    Gingerich is the chair of a committee that was asked to come up with a definition of a planet and hand it to the IAU general assembly, which runs August 14-25.

    In the run-up to the assembly, emotions have been running high in both directions.

    Some have appealed to Gingerich's group not to downgrade Pluto, saying it would disappoint children and throw our understanding of the universe into chaos.

    Others say let the chips fall where they may and seem to relish the idea of overturning our current view of the universe.

    Gingerich said that modern technologies have allowed scientists to delve into the solar system further, and in more detail, than ever before. Therefore, it is no surprise that questions on the fundamental assumptions of it are arising.

    "Should it (Pluto), for historical reasons, be considered a planet like the rest?" Gingerich asks, refusing to tip his hand on how the seven-member group has agreed after deciding on the wording in June.

    Scientists say the group may make a new class of planets that accepts large bodies such as Xena and Pluto that do not measure up to the eight larger planets. They could also drop Pluto's status as a planet or expand the list of planets to include many similarly-sized bodies found in the solar system.
  2. Pekelo


    Pluto is not a planet. End of story.

    If it is, there should be 5-10 more like that added. There is at least 1 that is bigger than Pluto and it isn't a planet. Just because something is a tradition that doesn't mean it can not be corrected...
  3. I appreciate all educated comments on planetary motion.

    I have posted several times regarding Uranus, and about Jupiter as well.

    Best Regards,
  4. perhaps Pluto is a floater of Uranus??
  5. i completely agree.

    when i read this part, i was like, "stfu"
    i'm on this side of the fence
    different classes of planets could be ok i suppose
  6. Pekelo


    Hehe, I missed that part. Saying like there is no Santa also disappoint children, but at one point or other we do tell them nevertheless...

    The fact is with Pluto: The Solar system has either 8 planets or 10+....
  7. so what do we do, go short ? go long ? wtf!
  8. Bootsie


    Pluto's more of a planet than Jupiter, Sat., Nep. or even Uranus...

    These guys are just balls of gas with metallic hydrogen at their centre.

    C'mon, lets here it for the little guy with 3 moons...

    te he
  9. Pekelo


    That is actually a good point, but we can't just call them giant gasballs.

    On the other hand, I have evidence that Pluto is a big discoball:
    (picture taken from Wikipedia)

    #10     Aug 14, 2006