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Q: Pluto's Demotion ( Answered,   11 Comments )
Subject: Pluto's Demotion
Category: Science > Astronomy
Asked by: mongolia-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 24 Aug 2006 08:40 PDT
Expires: 23 Sep 2006 08:40 PDT
Question ID: 759099
Did Pluto REALLY deserve to be demoted?
(Planet that is not the dog)
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
Answered By: keystroke-ga on 24 Aug 2006 09:52 PDT
I believe this will answer your question.,1299,DRMN_15_4912714,00.html

Pluto no longer being a planet is only part of our definition. As has
been famously quoted before.

"A rose by any other name will smell just as sweet". 

Likewise, even if Pluto is a planet or is not a planet, Pluto will
still remain as Pluto and will continue to orbit the Sun regardless of
what title we deem fits its purpose.

I think at the end of the day the demotion and thoughts of whether
pluto should be a planet or not is down to personal belief. I however
feel that Pluto could be a planet, even though it is made mainly of
ice, it has 1 possibly 3 moons that orbit it. Doesn't that make it a
planet? I am not part of the group that decides these things so
anything I feel is neither here nor there.

Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: jack_of_few_trades-ga on 24 Aug 2006 08:50 PDT
<sniffle sniffle>  It really is a sad day for Disney... I mean for the
solar system.

But it's true, Pluto just didn't deserve the title of Planet.  Pluto
is significantly smaller than other planets, there are several moons
larger than Pluto.  Pluto also has an orbit that is very different
from any other planets.

The best case scenario that I would have given to Pluto is that it
could be put into a new category of minor planets... I think that was
somewhat the official decision that the scientists came up with.  But
Pluto will never again be part of the most prestigious group of major
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: fstokens-ga on 24 Aug 2006 10:46 PDT
The main problem with defining Pluto as a "planet" is that any
definition of "planet" which includes Pluto would also include a lot
of other objects which are not commonly thought of as planets.  So
astronomers had 3 options:

1) define "planet" broadly, including Pluto and many others
2) define "planet" narrowly, excluding Pluto
3) define "planet" narrowly, but make a special exception for Pluto

None of these are perfect, but I think that demoting Pluto (option 2
above) is the best choice.
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: pinkfreud-ga on 24 Aug 2006 11:26 PDT
Maybe poor little Pluto can get a job in some neighboring Universe.
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: jack_of_few_trades-ga on 24 Aug 2006 12:25 PDT
Pink, that is very thoughtful of you.  I'm sure Pluto appreciates
people watching out for his well being...
However, Pluto is about 5 light hours from our sun... yet about 4
light years from the next closest sun.  I don't think he would last
long with that kind of commute.
(I think my 20 minute commute is bad enough)
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: pinkfreud-ga on 24 Aug 2006 12:30 PDT
Gee, Jack, don'tcha watch any sci-fi shows? Pluto can get there in a
jiffy once the Universal Transit Authority opens a wormhole.
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: myoarin-ga on 24 Aug 2006 12:56 PDT
Hmmm?  I wasn't listening too carefully to the news, but I thought the
announcement followed the suggestion mentioned on this site:  keep
Pluto  [good for the information in lots of existing books] and add
three new planets:,0,7916413.story?coll=bal-artslife-today
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: jack_of_few_trades-ga on 24 Aug 2006 13:06 PDT
Indeed Pluto has been booted.  It is now a dwarf planet along with
several other sun-orbiters.,2933,210275,00.html
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: pinkfreud-ga on 24 Aug 2006 13:28 PDT
If Douglas Adams (of "Hitchhiker's Guide" fame) were still around, I
bet he'd have a lot of fun with the Pluto story. I can imagine Zaphod
Beeblebrox organizing a protest and threatening that if Pluto is not
reinstated, he'll steal the Kuiper Belt, and Kuiper's pants will fall
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: mongolia-ga on 24 Aug 2006 13:50 PDT
If you read that most up to  date fountain of knowledge wikipedia ,
you will find the latest on Pluto:

"On August 24, 2006, however, the previous draft was reversed,
according to the newly passed rule, Pluto was demoted from planetary
status to a dwarf planet. There are three main conditions for an
object to be called a 'planet', according to the IAU resolution. The
first is that the object must be in orbit around a star, but not be a
star itself. Secondly, the object must be massive enough to be a
sphere by its own gravitational force. Thirdly, it must have cleared
the neighborhood around its orbit. Pluto fails to meet these
conditions but will act as a prototype for a yet to be named category
of Trans-Neptunian objects"

Regards for now


PS Clyde Tombaugh must be rolling in his grave!
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: denco-ga on 24 Aug 2006 15:32 PDT
Perhaps the rest of our solar system can maintain a plutonic relationship.
Subject: Re: Pluto's Demotion
From: pinkfreud-ga on 24 Aug 2006 16:29 PDT
When I first spotted this question, for a moment I thought its title
was "Pluto's Demolition." And I said to myself "Oh, no! Are those
astronomy guys so annoyed by Pluto that they've gone and blown it up?"

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