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Pluto has been demoted to dwarf planet status

DailyTech reported last week that Pluto was coming close to being dismissed as an official planet of our solar system. Pluto, which was first discovered in 1930, has been the subject of debate for astronomers for over 70 years. The International Astronomical Union's 2,500 astronomers (representing 75 countries) gathered to decide the fate of Pluto and the results are in.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted to demote Pluto from the ranks of the solar system's now 8 planets.  The decision comes as Pluto no longer fits the newly ratified definition of a planet decided upon by the IAU this week. The new definition states that a planet is “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 does not clear the neighborhood around its orbit because its orbit overlaps with its much larger neighbor Neptune. This therefore disqualifies it from planet status according to the IAU. Instead, Pluto will be classified as a dwarf planet and join the ranks of other dwarf planets such as Ceres, which lies between Mars and Jupiter and 2003 UB313 or ‘Xena’ as discoverer Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology has nicknamed it. ‘Xena’ is an icy object that lies after Pluto and is slightly larger than the now dwarf planet.



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Definition of a Planet
By epsilonparadox on 8/24/2006 12:47:48 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The IAU therefore resolves that planets and other bodies in our Solar System be defined into three distinct categories in the following way:

(1) A classical planet is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

(2) A dwarf planet is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.

(3) All other objects orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar System Bodies".


These resolutions would also rule out neptune.




RE: Definition of a Planet
By Trisped on 8/24/2006 12:50:04 PM , Rating: 2
Just what I was going to say.


RE: Definition of a Planet
By Nightmare225 on 8/24/2006 12:51:36 PM , Rating: 2
Beat me to it! You're right. Somethings awfully screwy here...


RE: Definition of a Planet
By skyyspam on 8/24/2006 1:06:00 PM , Rating: 2
How? Neptune's a gas giant planet, I thought.


RE: Definition of a Planet
By psychobriggsy on 8/24/2006 1:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
Pluto's orbit is eccentric and skewed from the solar equator enough that the orbital paths of both planets don't overlap.

i.e., when Pluto's in Neptune's area of space, it's bazillions of miles above or below Neptune. The usual 2D overhead orbit diagrams don't usually show this depth issue.

(that's what I read elsewhere anyway)


RE: Definition of a Planet
By Nanobaud on 8/24/2006 1:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on what is meant by 'cleared'. It must not require collecting every bit of matter along the orbital sweep to the object and it's moons, and would be somewhat subjective. Perhaps it is a relative criteria and a larger body can 'clear' its orbit with more residual matter than a smaller body. Also, since Pluto's orbital inclination is about 15° higher than Neptune's, does aither ever really cross the others path?


RE: Definition of a Planet
By SilthDraeth on 8/24/2006 3:16:11 PM , Rating: 2
Not really.

The part that Pluto does not meet is:
c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

Neptune does meet that. Pretty much Neptune fits all other definitions of a planet, and has a normal orbit of the Sun. Pluto does not, and does not match any other planet's orbital patterns. Neptune never crosses the path of Uranus, and since it has a regular path, then Pluto is crossing it's path, and not the other way around.

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/...
"Pluto's orbit is inclined, or tilted, 17.1 degrees from the ecliptic -- the plane that Earth orbits in. Except for Mercury's inclination of 7 degrees, all the other planets orbit more closely to the ecliptic."


RE: Definition of a Planet
By Chernobyl68 on 8/24/2006 3:40:30 PM , Rating: 2
The asteroid Ceres would have been classified a planet had they not included the bit about cleared its neighborhood.

Personally, I think they should have "grandfathered" Pluto's status in, to make everyone happy.



RE: Definition of a Planet
By SilthDraeth on 8/25/2006 10:38:24 AM , Rating: 2
I believe that would have been a good idea.


It's about time!
By johnnyMon on 8/24/2006 12:42:36 PM , Rating: 3
The only good thing about Pluto was the name.




RE: It's about time!
By Mojo the Monkey on 8/24/2006 1:42:15 PM , Rating: 5
This forum is obviously inundated with Jupiter fanboys. Just you guys wait until Q2, 2007 when Pluto opens its 45 nm fab....


RE: It's about time!
By rykerabel on 8/24/06, Rating: 0
RE: It's about time!
By rykerabel on 8/24/06, Rating: 0
RE: It's about time!
By Josh7289 on 8/24/2006 6:04:56 PM , Rating: 3
That's purely speculation. There has been no word yet if Pluto will open the new fab anytime before 2008.

And by the way, we're not Jupiter fanboys, but Jupiter has just had the better price/performance ratio for years now and Pluto has never been able to catch up. It's better for them to be out of their misery.


RE: It's about time!
By Tsuwamono on 8/25/2006 12:55:13 AM , Rating: 1
You guys all suck, we all know the sun has the best performance out there. Psht, Idiots... Why dont you do some research eh noobs?

The Sun has far more fabs then any of the others and its obviously way better.


RE: It's about time!
By rushfan2006 on 8/25/2006 10:09:00 AM , Rating: 3
I just hope the Sun's new OS "SuperNova 2.006" doesn't crash again....talk about overheating. ;)



RE: It's about time!
By PolPot on 8/25/2006 12:51:43 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if they'll come up with a new name for Plutonium...


What the heck!?
By jamesbond007 on 8/24/2006 1:11:56 PM , Rating: 2
My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine...NOOOO!




RE: What the heck!?
By piranhaa on 8/24/2006 1:18:15 PM , Rating: 5
My Very Eyes May Just See Uranus Now... AHHH


RE: What the heck!?
By MarkHark on 8/24/2006 3:12:59 PM , Rating: 2
ROFLMAO :D


RE: What the heck!?
By PolPot on 8/25/2006 12:49:49 AM , Rating: 2
Nice.


RE: What the heck!?
By bisoy on 8/25/2006 6:22:52 AM , Rating: 2
I've been a longtime DailyTech reader but never did find any inclination to post but now. But this sure made be laugh.



But what about ME?????
By NanMark on 8/24/2006 2:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
I am a Scorpio, ruled by the planet....uh....Pluto. Who will rule me now? I guess it's back to the ancient ruling planet of Mars. All I can say is thank goodness Scorpios had two ruling planets. What would become of us if we were counting on Pluto exclusively? Bill Gates and Julia Roberts are probably thinking the same thing as I am right now ... as they are Scorpios, too!




RE: But what about ME?????
By dice1111 on 8/24/2006 3:07:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'll rule you.


RE: But what about ME?????
By XINERGY on 8/24/2006 4:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
Funny you should mention it. Today's horoscope from Tarot.com reads:

"Mercury is visiting your key planet Pluto and this bodes well for having deep conversations about important issues. Even if what's on your mind isn't easy, now could be the right time to bring it up. You don't need to have any answers, nor do you need to know where it's all going. You only need to have faith in the universal process of sincere communication."

Oh, this is gonna mess with all those astrologers and psychics! *LOL*

XINERGY


RE: But what about ME?????
By darkfoon on 8/25/2006 12:11:12 AM , Rating: 2
Pluto has only been a planet since 1930, so astrologers have called pluto a planet for only 70 years (compared to the several hundred years that astrology has been around) So, they said Mars governs scorpios until pluto was discovered?
wtf?!
they're messing with peoples' lives!!!


RE: But what about ME?????
By XINERGY on 8/25/2006 2:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
Relax, darkfoon. It's only astrology. I think the psychics should have seen this coming.

XIN


Web pages.
By Korvon on 8/24/2006 1:19:07 PM , Rating: 4
Someone has thenineplanets.org. Sucks to be them. :P




RE: Web pages.
By dice1111 on 8/24/2006 3:00:59 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I have to hurry up and register www.theeightplanetsandafewdwarfplanets.com.net.org


I new it all along
By Lazarus Dark on 8/24/2006 1:37:19 PM , Rating: 1
i could have told you that it wasn't a planet. i mean come on, neptune, saturn, jupiter, and...mickey's dog?!? i like pluto as much as the next guy but he's no god of war.




RE: I new it all along
By vhx500 on 8/24/2006 2:02:57 PM , Rating: 3
sarcasm aside, pluto is the roman name for the greek god hades.

jupiter - zeus
uranus - ouranos
mars - ares
venus - aphrodite
saturn - kronos
neptune - poseidon
mercury - hermes

then again, i never had a sense of humor. :D


RE: I new it all along
By ss284 on 8/24/2006 2:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
I dont think Lazarus Dark meant to be sarcastic in his post...


not very pc
By marvdmartian on 8/24/2006 3:02:07 PM , Rating: 4
I mean, honestly. Dwarf planet? Shouldn't Mercury fall into that category as well? And why dwarf? Why not "planet of diminished stature", or something like that?

Fvck the fvckers.......I learned 9, that's what there is. You can't take away something like that, these bozos are just trying to make a name for themselves. I say we string 'em up and beat on 'em, like pinatas, until they cave in and declare Pluto a planet again!

First, we'll get some bumperstickers made........




RE: not very pc
By XINERGY on 8/24/2006 4:57:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
planet of diminished stature
- Made me laugh. Thanks, Marv. =D

Meanwhile... To my fellow Scorpio a few comments up:

Scorpios have been co-ruled by both Pluto and Mars for a while. Now, however, the sole power reverts back to the red planet, the god of war (eh, Marv?). Though we may not be ruled by the god of the underworld anymore, the god that remains still wreaks havoc.

XINERGY


I find it stupid...
By nyte on 8/24/2006 11:40:51 PM , Rating: 2
how just a few days ago, they added a few new planets to the solar system, but now, they're removing Pluto. Personally i think it's unfair to Pluto, maybe because it was discovered on my birthday ^_^.




RE: I find it stupid...
By rushfan2006 on 8/25/2006 10:12:24 AM , Rating: 2
LOL..the local classic rock station here (Philly Metro area) that normal has their "de-stress at 5pm" on workdays...actually said "Ok and now a special song to Pluto that needs much de-stressing due to its recent demotion"....lol.

Oh yeah the song btw.....Rock n' Roll Hoochie Koo by Rick Derringer.

;)



RE: I find it stupid...
By casket on 8/25/2006 11:39:37 AM , Rating: 2
"Pluto does not clear the neighborhood around its orbit because its orbit overlaps with its much larger neighbor Neptune. This therefore disqualifies it from planet status according to the IAU. "
-- What a stupid rule! and stupid Logic! If Pluto does not clear the neighborhood because it interacts with Neptune... then Nepute does not clear the neighborhood because it interacts with Pluto. Therefore, Neptune is no longer a planet either.


With 8 planets
By Chillin1248 on 8/24/2006 1:01:14 PM , Rating: 5
We are now the joke of the Galaxy :(




Planetize Pluto!
By Misty Dingos on 8/24/2006 1:07:40 PM , Rating: 4
OK here is the plan. Get a few thousand robot space tugs and have them hook up with some of these other "dwarves" and run them into Pluto. In no time at all we can have Pluto up to planet status and then some! Who's with me!?




w.t.f.
By tombomba2 on 8/24/2006 6:54:05 PM , Rating: 2
Holy crappola! Who cares?




RE: w.t.f.
By lemonadesoda on 8/24/2006 8:56:27 PM , Rating: 2
Arthur Dent


New notion
By grossmodule on 8/24/2006 7:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe voting eight might just shake up newspapers. Minority viewpoints encompass mostly jabbering scientists' union naysayers. My view exactly matches joint scientific uniform notion.




RE: New notion
By Dustin25 on 8/24/2006 8:23:01 PM , Rating: 2
STAR NERDS!!!! Get em Ogre!!


Mnemonics
By XINERGY on 8/25/2006 2:16:49 PM , Rating: 2
I thought this was entertaining:

Pluto mnemonic device contest results
http://www.kottke.org/06/08/pluto-mnemonic-device-...




RE: Mnemonics
By Xponential on 8/25/2006 3:29:14 PM , Rating: 2
"Molesting Very Excitedly, Michael Jackson Sucks Underage Nipples"

ROFLMAO!!


Offending the dwarf planet?
By Simsmith on 8/24/2006 2:30:25 PM , Rating: 3
It’s a planet, now it’s not.

Why, yes it is, too. So’s this rock, and this iceball as well.

There’s one of Uranus' moons, it's a planet too. A moon that’s a planet??!!

No way. How can that be?

It can be if I say it is.

OK, none of them are planets after all. It's just a big wad of wet paper!

Planet #13! I mean #10!

No, it's not.

Yes, it is.

No way!

I don't care, it's my planet because I say so.

(Finally) Let's all meet, we need to make some planet RULES.

Ok, these are the rules.

No, they're not.



Science… In a pig's eye. More like - status.





More concise definition
By psychobriggsy on 8/24/2006 1:16:13 PM , Rating: 2
Basically now there are Planets and Dwarf Planets. It probably isn't the best definition, but it's a better definition.

The previous suggestion (last week) was Planets, some of which are Dwarf Planets. The prospect of having dozens, if not scores of planets eventually scared some people, and the anti-Pluto-as-a-full-planet lobby didn't like it anyway.

And historically we've merely had Planets of dubious definition.

Now if they discover a f*ing huge body out there with its own orbit, I trust they'll give it planet status. I can imagine the headlines - 9th Planet Discovered (again). We'll never get to Planet X :(




Pluto is still a mystery
By cochy on 8/24/2006 2:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
It seems to me that even though it's not a planet now it very well may have been in the past. Maybe we'll find out when the Nasa probe gets there. I'm no astrophysicist but what if Pluto and Charon used to be one whole planet with a near circular orbit. Perhaps a large body impacted with it and destroyed this planet. Over time the pieces reformed into the Pluto-Charon system we see today. Also the force of the impact changed the orbit into the wacky one of today. Like I said there may be a simple law of physics that says this is impossible, but I dunno the thought just occured to me and seems interesting :P




Owned
By Loser on 8/24/2006 2:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
Pluto got owned




Im no astronomer
By lemonadesoda on 8/24/2006 6:51:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The IAU therefore resolves that planets and other bodies in our Solar System be defined into three distinct categories in the following way:

(1) A classical planet is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

(2) A dwarf planet is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.

(3) All other objects orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar System Bodies".


OK, I'm no astro-sherlock, but I can see some problems with these rules-of-definition. Two obvious ones are:

1./ What happens to a "double planet". In this case the "not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit" rule applies, and it would be called a double dwarf planet. This is odd, since most double planets are HUGE

2./ Raw size or mass (absolute or relative) is not included. So a HUGE "planet" orbiting a star that happens to pass through some "uncleared" area would be called a "dwarf", whereas a solitary peanut orbiting a star that is "clear" would be called a planet.

I think it was a good idea to keep the definitional rules simple. But it seems that too simple can also be stupid




Solar nerfing
By shaw on 8/25/2006 5:27:04 PM , Rating: 2
OMGZ! It was about time! Pluto was too far out anyhow, the devs needed to nerf it long ago. Why am I paying $15/month for a solar system that's still in beta!?!




What did Pluto ever do to anyone?
By kitchme on 8/24/2006 2:16:28 PM , Rating: 1
Firstly, it was the 8th planet for about 20 years, then they dropped it to the 9th place, and now it's relegated to a lower division to compete with dwarf planets. What did Pluto ever do to deserve all this?




"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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