What a beat down for 'Pluto'; now its not a planet?
-------------------------------------------------------



Dinky Pluto loses its status as planet By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 36 minutes ago



PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Pluto, beloved by some as a cosmic underdog but scorned by astronomers who considered it too dinky and distant, was unceremoniously stripped of its status as a planet Thursday.
The International Astronomical Union, dramatically reversing course just a week after floating the idea of reaffirming Pluto's planethood and adding three new planets to Earth's neighborhood, downgraded the ninth rock from the sun in historic new galactic guidelines.

The shift will have the world's teachers scrambling to alter lesson plans just as schools open for the fall term.

"It will all take some explanation, but it is really just a reclassification and I can't see that it will cause any problems," said Neil Crumpton, who teaches science at a high school north of London. "Science is an evolving subject and always will be."

Powerful new telescopes, experts said, are changing the way they size up the mysteries of the solar system and beyond. But the scientists at the conference showed a soft side, waving plush toys of the Walt Disney character Pluto the dog "” and insisting that Pluto's spirit will live on in the exciting discoveries yet to come.

"The word 'planet' and the idea of planets can be emotional because they're something we learn as children," said Richard Binzel, a professor of planetary science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who helped hammer out the new definition.

"This is really all about science, which is all about getting new facts," he said. "Science has marched on. ... Many more Plutos wait to be discovered."

Pluto, a planet since 1930, got the boot because it didn't meet the new rules, which say a planet not only must orbit the sun and be large enough to assume a nearly round shape, but must "clear the neighborhood around its orbit." That disqualifies Pluto, whose oblong orbit overlaps Neptune's, downsizing the solar system to eight planets from the traditional nine.

Astronomers have labored without a universal definition of a planet since well before the time of Copernicus, who proved that the Earth revolves around the sun, and the experts gathered in Prague burst into applause when the guidelines were passed.

Predictably, Pluto's demotion provoked plenty of wistful nostalgia.

"It's disappointing in a way, and confusing," said Patricia Tombaugh, the 93-year-old widow of Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh.

"I don't know just how you handle it. It kind of sounds like I just lost my job," she said from Las Cruces, N.M. "But I understand science is not something that just sits there. It goes on. Clyde finally said before he died, 'It's there. Whatever it is. It is there.'"

The decision by the IAU, the official arbiter of heavenly objects, restricts membership in the elite cosmic club to the eight classical planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Pluto and objects like it will be known as "dwarf planets," which raised some thorny questions about semantics: If a raincoat is still a coat, and a cell phone is still a phone, why isn't a dwarf planet still a planet?

NASA said Pluto's downgrade would not affect its $700 million New Horizons spacecraft mission, which this year began a 9 1/2-year journey to the oddball object to unearth more of its secrets.

But mission head Alan Stern said he was "embarrassed" by Pluto's undoing and predicted that Thursday's vote would not end the debate. Although 2,500 astronomers from 75 nations attended the conference, only about 300 showed up to vote.

"It's a sloppy definition. It's bad science," he said. "It ain't over."

Under the new rules, two of the three objects that came tantalizingly close to 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." The third object, Pluto's largest moon, Charon, isn't in line for any special designation.

Brown, whose Xena find rekindled calls for Pluto's demise because it showed it isn't nearly as unique as it once seemed, waxed philosophical.

"Eight is enough," he said, jokingly adding: "I may go down in history as the guy who killed Pluto."

Demoting the icy orb named for the Roman god of the underworld isn't personal "” it's just business "” said Jack Horkheimer, director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium and host of the PBS show "Star Gazer."

"It's like an amicable divorce," he said. "The legal status has changed but the person really hasn't. It's just single again."

___

AP Science Writers Alicia Chang in Los Angeles and Seth Borenstein in Washington, and correspondents Sue Leeman in London and Mike Schneider in Cape Canaveral, Fla., contributed to this story.

___

On the Net:

International Astronomical Union, http://www.iau.org
Original Post
It does sort of recast how we think of ourselves. Our solar system used to have 9 planets. Now only 8. 14
quote:
The shift will have the world's teachers scrambling to alter lesson plans just as schools open for the fall term.

"It will all take some explanation, but it is really just a reclassification and I can't see that it will cause any problems," said Neil Crumpton, who teaches science at a high school north of London. "Science is an evolving subject and always will be."


I'm sure Pluto is really going to be upset about this. It undoubtedly hasn't had this much excitement since it was discovered.

umbra
I don't understand why this is news. This debate over Pluto's planetary status is not new information.
quote:
Originally posted by Falak:

I don't understand why this is news. This debate over Pluto's planetary status is not new information.


The debate is not, but the decision to remove it from planet status is.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
It does sort of recast how we think of ourselves. Our solar system used to have 9 planets. Now only 8. 14


Frown
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:

quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
It does sort of recast how we think of ourselves. Our solar system used to have 9 planets. Now only 8. 14


Frown


First the Fat Boys break up, now this! sad
quote:
Originally posted by MidLifeMan:

Next....life did begin on Mars


Do you mean that life was on Mars before Earth or just that there was life there at some point?

Do you believe that life exists throughout the universe?
quote:
Originally posted by ocatchings:
Just a thought, but if they decide that earth is not a planet, do we have to leave???????
Confused

catch


No they'll just double the rent. lol
quote:
Originally posted by AudioGuy:
sleep

NEWS FLASH: Sun loses "solar" Status...

Today the sun was downgraded from it's long held status as a star...


This was funny! laugh
Bill: "I say it's time for the United States to sever its ties with science all together and withdraw from the solar system"

Too Funny! laugh
quote:
Originally posted by umbrarchist:
How did they decide the cut off between dwarf and non-dwarf planet? Mercury is only 3,000 miles in diameter. Why isn't it a dwarf?

And now for a little interplanetary humor about these cut and run scientists.

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/08/26/bill-maher-sci...ut-and-run-on-pluto/

You did realize that planets have umbras, didn't you? lol

umbra

ps - Deep Space Whine !!



Interesting. So now, are other planets in danger of becoming '3/5's', of a planet. What is the criteria for being a full fledged planet.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:

quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
It does sort of recast how we think of ourselves. Our solar system used to have 9 planets. Now only 8. 14


Frown


First the Fat Boys break up, now this! sad


Chris Rock, "Boomerang", 1992. lol
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
I'm waiting for them to dicover Nubiru...even though in 2005 it was anounced, it didn't make the news like this ommission.


Sounds like a Black planet. Smile

Scientists challenge Pluto's demotion


By Andy Sullivan
42 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hundreds of U.S. scientists have challenged a recent decision by an international astronomy group to strip Pluto of its planetary status with a petition rejecting its definition of what constitutes a planet.

The astronomical insurrection shows that debate is likely to continue over the status of the icy rock at the edge of the solar system that was considered the ninth planet until a vote last week by the International Astronomical Union.

Petition organizer Alan Stern said the union's decision was driven by politics, not science.

"The IAU can say the sky is green all day long and that doesn't make it so," said Stern, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

"The IAU created a definition which is technically flawed, linguistically flawed and scientifically embarrassing," Stern said in a phone interview.

The 300 astronomers and planetary scientists who signed the petition said they would not use the IAU's definition. Dissenters are organizing a conference next year to hash out a better definition, Stern said.

Pluto has been considered the ninth planet since it was discovered 1930. But the 2003 discovery of a nearby, larger body known as Xena prompted a reconsideration.

After rejecting a proposal to name Xena and two other bodies as planets, the IAU decided to downgrade Pluto and create a first-ever definition of what constitutes a planet.

According to the IAU, a body can be considered a planet if it orbits the Sun, is large enough to be made round by its own gravity, and has cleared the area around it of smaller cosmic objects.
[b]
That definition would exclude Earth and other planets that are pelted with asteroids, Stern said.
[/c]
Others who did not sign the petition also criticized the IAU's decision.

"I'd like to see philosophers, writers and policymakers weigh in on this before we start rewriting textbooks," said Mark Bullock, also of the Southwest Research Institute.

One scientist involved in crafting the IAU's definition said other points of view were inevitable.

"There are many viable definitions for the word 'planet,"' said Richard Binzel, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060901/sc_nm/space_pluto_dc
The other day I started reading "The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist" by Neil de Grasse Tyson (lovin' it!). It's a memoir that's funny, engaging and full of wonderful scientific facts.

Anyway, Dr. Tyson was all for demoting Pluto. In 1999 he wrote an essay stating his case noting that "more than half of Pluto's volume is ice." Basically, if it were closer to the sun it would take on the characteristics of a comet.

His views generated "hate letters" from children. (For some reason children LOVE Pluto!) He says he "will continue to x-ray packages sent to my office from third graders." Smile
quote:
Originally posted by Santana St. Cloud:

His views generated "hate letters" from children. (For some reason children LOVE Pluto!) He says he "will continue to x-ray packages sent to my office from third graders." Smile


Pluto is a big block of ice. It's wasn't a planet. Planets have to some kind of greenery or planet like matter like Earth. To be a planet. I wonder how come they didn't omitt Jupiter. It's just a big ball of gas. Weird.
Saturn is also gaseous.

Pluto was grouped with the other planets because you couldn't have a category of one, i.e. only one planet whose volume is composed mostly of ice. But, now there are said to be many other objects out there with Pluto's composition. So.... 9

Add Reply

Post
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×