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Old 08-16-2006, 01:56 AM  
Ultra Peanut Ultra Peanut is offline
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Three new planets out of ****ing nowhere!

http://www.boston.com/news/science/a...es_12_planets/
http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/w...anplanets.html

Well, actually, Ceres "the asteroid" is a planet once again; Pluto/Charon and Xena are but mere plutons. So 9 + 3.

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Old 08-16-2006, 02:01 AM   #2
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:04 AM   #3
Spicy McHaggis Spicy McHaggis is offline
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2 Skinnee J's has vehemently argued that Pluto is a planet. Man, I miss seein' those guys in concert.

Pretty interesting stuff, I like it when the scientific community shakes itself up.
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:07 AM   #4
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http://www.badastronomy.com/

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So this rule isnt really arbitrary, its just not very satisfying. But imagine the rule wed need instead: if you have two objects that orbit each other, and one or both are planets by Rules 1 and 2, then the more massive on is a planet, and the other is just a moon. Thats silly too. What if one is Jupiter-sized and the other is Earth-sized?

Which brings me, finally, to my big point. This is all incredibly silly. Were not arguing science here. Were arguing semantics. For years people have tried to make a rigid definition of planet, but it simply wont work. No matter what parameter you include in the list, I can come up with an example that screws the definition up. Ive shown that already, and Im just warming up.

The problem here is simple, really: were trying to wrap a scientific definition around a culturally-defined word that has no strict definition. Doing this will only lead to trouble. Why? For one thing, its divisive and silly. How does a definition help us at all? And how does it make things less confusing than they already are? Charon is a planet? Its smaller than our own Moon!

A big step in understanding a new object is being able to categorize it. Is it icy, or rocky? Is the orbit circular, elliptical, far from the Sun, nearby, tilted? This type of information leads to insight on how the object formed, what its doing, and how it behaves. This is all important, and so it is a good idea to try to categorize objects. But definitions are like little boxes, containers in which ideas sit. But sometimes theyre more like prison cells. They frame our minds, make us see things too rigidly. Thinking of Pluto as a planet might make us miss some important characteristic because were too narrow in our thinking. Ive seen it happen before, even with me. Its too easy to be rigid with a definition in your hand.

However, in a sense this doesnt matter. Whats in a name? Scientists will probably still of Pluto as they always have an ice ball at the edge of the main solar system. The public will still think of it as a planet, so that wont change. And, well, there is something cool about this new set of rules. Maybe, just maybe, in a few years well have a solar system with hundreds or even thousands of planets, instead of just the 9 nuts, I mean 12 that we have now.
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:13 AM   #5
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Cool pic of Pluto and Charon comparison to the US:
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:15 AM   #6
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Well, based on that pic, a trip around the world just got easier.
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keg in kc
Cool pic of Pluto and Charon comparison to the US:
Lest we start feeling high and mighty, however:
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:25 AM   #8
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We are so insignificant.
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Old 08-16-2006, 05:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by keg in kc
Cool pic of Pluto and Charon comparison to the US:
I never realized they were so smooth and shiny.
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Old 08-16-2006, 05:24 AM   #10
Ultra Peanut Ultra Peanut is offline
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More fun with celestial size comparisons:

http://www.rense.com/general72/size.htm

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Old 08-16-2006, 05:30 AM   #11
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:04 AM   #12
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:08 AM   #13
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultra Peanut
More fun with celestial size comparisons:

http://www.rense.com/general72/size.htm

Holy crap. That is awesome. Rep.
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:44 AM   #15
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Scientists must show SOME result for all of the years of federal funding. I'm sure they'll request 4X more money next year. "But we 'discovered' new planets!!"
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