The Unlikely King of the Kuiper Belt

“It is not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is reluctant to step into its waters.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Although the innermost planets, from Mercury through Saturn, were known since ancient times, it’s only since the advent of the telescope that we’ve discovered what really lives in our Solar System. Over the past four centuries, the wonders of not only the distant Universe, but also our nearby neighborhood, have been uncovered in spectacular detail.

Image credit: NASA and – I believe – G. Bacon (STScI).

Image credit: NASA and – I believe – G. Bacon (STScI).

The third and fourth largest planets were discovered, as were a plethora of moons around other worlds, a belt of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter (at the ice-line of our Solar System, or where the strength of the Sun is insufficient to move water out of its solid phase), and a Kuiper belt out beyond the final planet. (And the Oort cloud even beyond that!)

Image Credit: Oort Cloud image by Calvin J. Hamilton, inset image by NASA.

Image Credit: Oort Cloud image by Calvin J. Hamilton, inset image by NASA.

Although Uranus was discovered in 1781 by William Herschel and its bizarre failure to adhere to Kepler’s laws led to the prediction-and-discovery of Neptune in 1846, it wasn’t until 1930 that a lone astronomer, looking at pairs of images taken at different times, happened upon the serendipitous discovery of a lifetime.

Image credit: Clyde Tombaugh's images, as they would have appeared in his blink comparator.

Image credit: Clyde Tombaugh’s images, with Pluto indicated by the arrows.

Even though it was the only world located out beyond the orbit of Neptune for nearly 50 years (until Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, was discovered), it was recognized relatively quickly that Pluto was a harbinger for many more such objects, now recognized (and confirmed, since 1992) to be just one of a great many located in the Kuiper Belt. The other bodies began to exhibit a variety of sizes, shapes, and orbital characteristics, although they all had a number of properties that threw Pluto’s “privileged” status as a “planet” into question:

  • similar, trans-Neptunian orbits in the same direction and with similar periods,
  • masses and sizes of the same order-of-magnitude as Pluto,
  • Pluto-like densities and surface properties, with lots of surface methane ice,
  • similar atmospheric compositions to Pluto, as seen by occultations, and
  • numbers that grew from “a few” to “dozens” to more than a thousand as of today.

This all came to a head in 2005, when it was discovered that Pluto isn’t even the most massive object in the Kuiper Belt!

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Lexicon; modified from the NASA original.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Lexicon; modified from the NASA original.

That distinction belongs to Eris, which weighs in at about 127% the mass of Pluto. That discovery paved the way for a new classification scheme that included an additional class of Solar System objects known as dwarf planets, of which Eris and Pluto are the two most massive at the present time.

But when it comes to the King of all Kuiper Belt objects, none of these little monsters can stake that claim. Because there’s one object that we don’t normally think of as a Kuiper Belt object that has them all beat.

Image credit: NASA / Voyager 2. Aren't you glad the shutdown is over?!

Image credit: NASA / Voyager 2. Aren’t you glad the shutdown is over?!

This is Neptune, the outermost planet in our Solar System. No, it doesn’t qualify as a Kuiper Belt object; it’s a planet, just like you’ve always learned. But back in 1846, there were some awfully powerful telescopes in the world, certainly much better and bigger ones than were around in 1781 (when Uranus was discovered) or at any time before that. Back in 1781, there was only one telescope in the world — commissioned in 1780 — that had a primary mirror of two feet (61 cm) or more in diameter.

By time 1846 came around, the largest telescope in the world had a primary mirror that was six feet (1.8 meters) in diameter, and amateurs with no formal training — like William Lassell — were building their own two foot diameter telescopes themselves.

Image credit: National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside.

Image credit: National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside; model of Lassell’s telescope.

The timetable for the discovery of Neptune was swift: Urbain Le Verrier announced his prediction for the undiscovered planet’s position on August 31, 1846, and composed a letter to Johann Galle, director of the Berlin observatory. Galle and his assistant, Heinrich d’Arrest, looked for the planet on September 23, and discovered it that very night in one of the greatest accomplishments of all-time in theoretical astrophysics.

But news traveled fast, and back in England, William Lassell was eager to view the newly-discovered world.

Image credit: Tony Kroes of http://www.astroacres.com/.

Image credit: Tony Kroes of http://www.astroacres.com/.

Just 17 days after the discovery of the hypothesized new world that had occupied many of the world’s greatest professional astronomers for decades, a virtually unknown and amateur telescope-maker discovered Triton, by far the largest satellite world of Neptune. (Although to be fair, it was the largest telescope in England at the time.) If all the Solar System’s moons were compared to one another, Triton would be the seventh largest in size, behind only Earth’s Moon, Saturn’s Titan, and the four Jovian moons discovered by Galileo.

Image credit: NASA, Wikimedia Commons users Deuar, KFP, & TotoBaggins.

Image credit: NASA, Wikimedia Commons users Deuar, KFP, & TotoBaggins.

But — up close — Triton doesn’t look like any other large moon in the entire Solar System! For one, every other large moon revolves around its planet the same way all the planets revolve around the Sun: counterclockwise, as viewed if you flew directly upwards above the Earth’s north pole. But not Triton, which revolves around Neptune in the opposite direction!

In terms of density, it resembles Pluto far more than it resembles either Neptune or any other Moon in the Solar System. And in terms of atmospheric composition, it’s virtually identical to the known worlds found in the Kuiper Belt.

Image credit: NASA / Voyager 2.

Image credit: NASA / Voyager 2.

What does all this mean?

That Triton isn’t a naturally occurring moon of Neptune, but has been gravitationally captured (by the same mechanism described here last week) from its place of origin: the Kuiper Belt. Even though it isn’t currently in the Kuiper Belt, that doesn’t stop it from being the largest, most massive, most accessible, first-discovered, and in many subjective ways, greatest Kuiper Belt Object of them all!

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Lasunncty, under the GFDL.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Lasunncty, under the GFDL.

But it’s real, it’s spectacular, and unlike every other Kuiper Belt Object (so far), we’ve been there! That was thanks to Voyager 2 in 1989; take a look at this photo mosaic of a large chunk of its surface!

Image credit: NASA / Jet Propulsion Lab / U.S. Geological Survey, via Voyager 2.

Image credit: NASA / Jet Propulsion Lab / U.S. Geological Survey, via Voyager 2.

If it looks cantaloupe-like to you away from the poles, well done; that’s the semi-official NASA term for it! So the next time you think about worlds from beyond our planets, don’t just think of frozen ice-and-rock-balls orbiting in deep space, nor only of the comets disturbed by passing gravitational bodies and hurled inwards towards the Sun, but also of the rogue worlds that migrate inwards and wind up captured by gas giants.

After all, if you didn’t include them, you’d be missing out on Triton, largest of all the trans-Neptunian objects and the onetime King of the Kuiper Belt!

Comments

  1. […] MESZ: mehr auch hier, hier, hier, hier und hier. Auch ein sensationeller Jupiter vom 5.10., die Rolle von Triton für den Kuiper-Gürtel, Beobachtungen von Sternbedeckungen im äußeren Sonnensystem mit dem […]

  2. #2 Artor
    October 17, 2013

    Very interesting. I hadn’t seen this pic of Triton before. Do we have any idea of what makes the cantaloupe texture? Ice expansion of some sort, but certainly not water. It looks like there’s highlands on the bottom of the pic, with some black smudges from what I assume are volcanic vents? It looks like they blow in the same direction. Does Triton have an atmosphere?

  3. #3 Dan
    October 18, 2013

    Too bad that in a few more billion years Triton will plunge into Neptune.

  4. #4 Birger Johansson
    October 18, 2013

    Dan, we will nudge a few small Kuiper belt objects into Triton to counteract tidal friction :)

    -Ethan, there will be many more objects in the “scattered disc” component. Using the orbit of 1996TL66 as an example, a lot of BIG objects will be out there at 130 AU, and even if they are larger than Triton we will not see then until they return to perihelion…in a thousand years.

  5. #5 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    October 18, 2013

    An object can be both a Kuiper Belt Object and a planet. Such are Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris, and even Charon, which can be considered part of the binary Pluto-Charon system. One classification does not preclude the other. The Kuiper Belt does not lie beyond the “final planet”; it includes the final planet, which currently is Eris. Also, Eris is 27 percent more massive than Pluto, not 127 percent more massive. Triton is likely a captured Kuiper Belt Object, but since it is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, it can also, like all spherical moons, be considered a satellite planet.

  6. #6 CB
    October 18, 2013

    Ethan said Eris “weighs in at about 127% the mass of Pluto” which is the same as saying “27% more massive”.

    And that’s one possible classification system, sure, but not the one in use. You could define everything that is round due to its gravity as a “planet” but I find it useful to distinguish between a planet and their satellites. Why not just call all round objects “round objects” rather than using the term planet? I also find it useful to distinguish between objects which gravitationally dominate their orbit and do not. This is the historical though unofficial way ‘planet’ was used; Pluto isn’t the first object to be “downgraded” from planet once it was discovered to not be the dominant object in its orbit.

    Of course this is just applying names to sets of properties for the sake of simplifying discussion and satisfying the human urge for classification.

    The ultimate would be to eschew any nomenclature, and simply talk about “the set of objects with the following properties: { round, orbits a body other than the sun, icy }” rather than creating a special name for large icy moons, just as an example.

    But we love the word “planet” for some reason.

  7. #7 Wow
    October 18, 2013

    “Why not just call all round objects “round objects” rather than using the term planet? ”

    Because a baseball is not a planet.

    We already have a term for these things like Mars, Earth, Jupiter, and so on: planets.

    We have to define what we mean by the word and as we find cases where the use of the word as defined leads to it being pointless, we refine the definition.

    Planet used to mean “wanderer”.

    “simply talk about “the set of objects with the following properties: { round, orbits a body other than the sun, icy }” ”

    You obviously have a different definition of the term “simple”.

    How about we talk about “the planets”?

    Isn’t that simpler? It’s a hell of a lot less word use.

    and since “icy” is a solid state of water, cold compared to human comfort or a “hard stare”, you have to define “icy”.

    And “Sun”.

    And “orbit”.

    And “round”.

    And the definition of “set”

    And…And…And…

    Or just say “planet”.

  8. #8 Wow
    October 18, 2013

    “The Kuiper Belt does not lie beyond the “final planet”; it includes the final planet, which currently is Eris. ”

    Eris is not a planet.

  9. #9 Sean T
    October 18, 2013

    Obviously, under the modern understanding of what a planet is, Pluto, Eris, etc. are not planets. However, is it possible that there could be a trans-Neptunian planet that has so far remained undetected? Or would a body large enough to clear its orbit be detectable via gravitational interaction on Neptune, Pluto, Eris or other outer solar system bodies? I guess such a hypothetical planet could not be located in the Kuiper belt since then it could not be said to have cleared its orbit, but could such a planet exist beyond the Kuiper belt without being detectable via interaction with known bodies?

  10. #10 Sili
    October 18, 2013

    I hope that we get to have orbiters around the ice giants – and Triton in my time.

  11. #11 CB
    October 18, 2013

    “Because a baseball is not a planet.”

    Yes, to be precise I’d say “hydrostatic equilibrium”, which you can understand “round” to mean in this context*. But also the moon is not a planet in our current nomenclature, so “planet” is not a replacement for the concept of objects in hydrostatic equilibrium.

    “Eris is not a planet.”

    If you noticed, they were in essence proposing a new system of nomenclature where everything that is round is a planet. That is not the current definition, but it could be. The thing is, why use the word “planet” just to mean “round” when we already have “round”. If we’re going to use the word “planet” it should (and of course does) mean more than that.

    “How about we talk about “the planets”?”

    Because if you noticed, the set of objects I described are not planets or even a subset of planets. :P

    The point is that “planet” describes only one interesting subset of properties objects can have in common. If you gave a name to every subset of properties someone might be interested in, you’d have a ridiculous number of names that nobody could possibly remember and it’d be anything but simple. And why get hung up on the nomenclature anyway since whatever set of properties you decide defines “planet”, objects still have the exact same properties?

    Of course I like the word “planet” and the current definition, but I know that’s because of history and culture as much as anything. It’s why so many people shit a brick over the “demotion” of Pluto — “planet” has cachet that has nothing to do with the significance of specific objects or specific properties.

    But if what I care about is objects that are round and orbit the sun, but not whether they cleared their orbit, then the term “planet” is useless because it’s just a subset of what I’m interested in. I’d have to say “planets and”. Or if I’m just interested in rocky bodies I’d have to say “rocky planets and…” then enumerate all the things that define the “and” to complete the set. Is that simpler than enumerating the things that define the set? No.

    Maybe I should find the Neil Tyson video where he lays out this as the way he’d prefer to solve the whole issue. He probably sells it better than I do.

    “[you have to define] “Sun”. And “orbit”. And “round”. And the definition of “set” And…And…And… Or just say “planet”.”

    You’re kidding, right? To define planet you need to define all those things, and “clearing the neighborhood” besides!

    Unless you’re seriously suggesting talking about the “planets” are WITHOUT defining any of those things? So someone would know that there is a planet called “Mars”, but not even the most basic of facts about it, the very facts that define it as a planet — like orbiting the sun?!

    If you give a name to a set of properties then you have to define those properties or the name is meaningless. And then you have to define the name in terms of those properties. So there’s always one more definition this way.

    Not that I care about that metric. Not sure why you would either.

    * Which is appropriate when the degree of roundness implied by hydrostatic equilibrium is far greater than that of a queue ball, forget about a baseball. Just like “cleared the neighborhood” is perfectly clear when talking about planets due to the orders of magnitude difference between them and the orbits of any non-planet.

  12. #12 Sinisa Lazarek
    October 18, 2013

    @ Sean T

    Neptune was also discovered by gravitational influence and only then visually observed.

    The problem IMO is once you get to Pluto and Kuiper Belt, there comes an issue from where do “wobbles” come from? It can be a single object messing with i.e. Pluto’s orbit, or can be many. The fact Pluto got demoted is precisely because larger objects were found. As for a bigger planet. Well, “planet x” could be out there. I personally don’t believe it. But it’s possible to have a very big orbital period.. say more than 500 years. Last time it was “around” we didn’t have telescopes. Like I said, I don’t think it likely, but it;s possible.

  13. #13 CB
    October 18, 2013

    Yeah, it was a stroke of good luck that Neptune and Uranus happened to be in the parts of their respective orbits where we could see Uranus speed up and slow down.

    Had that not been the case, it might have been another ~80 years before we discovered Neptune, if nobody discovered it through serendipity.

  14. #14 CB
    October 18, 2013

    * 80 years? I don’t think that’s right. There’s a question — how long between Neptune/Uranus interactions?

  15. #15 Ethan
    October 18, 2013

    CB,

    Uranus and Neptune are in an approximate 1:2 resonance; every time Neptune orbits the Sun (~165 years) means Uranus will make two complete orbits (~88 years each). The combination of these two things means that Uranus passes Neptune in its orbit once every 165 years: once around 1830, recently just prior to the turn of the millenium, and will do so next in the far future around 2165 or so.

    You can see for yourself by using an orrery app; this one is my favorite: http://www.dynamicdiagrams.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/orrery_2011_bce.swf

  16. #16 CB
    October 18, 2013

    Thanks, Ethan!

  17. #17 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    October 18, 2013

    There is NO single “modern understanding, “current definition,” or “classification in use for the term planet. There IS an ongoing debate between dynamicists, who believe a spherical celestial object that is not a star must be the dominant thing in its orbit to be a planet, and geophysicists, who believe that a spherical celestial object that is not a star is a planet, whether or not it dominates its orbit. According to the equally legitimate second definition, some planets gravitationally dominate their orbits (terrestrials and jovians) while other planets do not (dwarf planets). This does not make dwarf planets not planets at all. According to this definition, Eris is a planet; Pluto is a planet, and even Sedna might be a planet, in which case it rather than Eris would be the solar system’s furthest planet. NO objects larger than Pluto have been found in the Kuiper Belt so far. Eris was initially thought to be bigger than Pluto, but in November 2010 was found to be smaller than originally thought and actually marginally smaller than Pluto though more massive.

    The notion that we cannot have too many planets because that would mean “a ridiculously large set of names” that no one could memorize has no scientific merit whatsoever. It is akin to saying there cannot be billions of stars or billions of galaxies or that Jupiter cannot have 67 moons because no one can memorize so many names. Our solar system has whatever number of planets it has, and it makes no sense to try to artificially limit that number for the sake of convenience.

    Spherical moons have many of the same properties and characteristics of planets, and some may even harbor subsurface oceans. The only difference between them and classical planets is that they orbit other planets instead of orbiting stars directly.

    An object does not even have to orbit a star to be a planet. Several rogue planets have been discovered that orbit no star but just free float in space. Obviously, the can’t “clear their orbits” if they don’t have any orbits!

    What makes the most sense is keeping the term planet broad to encompass any non-self-luminous spheroidal body orbiting a star or free floating in space. We can then use subcategories to distinguish the many different types of planets: terrestrials, gas giants, ice giants, dwarf planets, hot Jupiters, super Earths, satellite planets, rogue planets, etc.

  18. #18 CB
    October 19, 2013

    Laurel: “There is NO single ‘modern understanding’, ‘current definition,'”

    Actually, there is precisely one current definition as defined by an organization representing enough astronomers to count as “official”. Doesn’t mean you have to like, or even use, that definition, but that’s what it is. Given that there didn’t used to be any such definition, then it’s fair to consider whether dynamics should be part of the definition or not.

    All I’ll say on that is: The original meaning of planet was based *entirely* on dynamics, and in modern times the issue has come up before and was decided in favor of dynamics and orbital dominance when Ceres was first named a planet, then “demoted” just like Pluto when it was discovered to be only a fraction of the total mass in its orbit. So I think the current definition is more consistent with the historical usage.

    But if you want “planet” to mean “round” and another name for large moon is “satellite planet”, well, fine. I don’t care about the word “planet” so much. It’s just nomenclature. The objects themselves don’t change.

    “The notion that we cannot have too many planets because that would mean ‘a ridiculously large set of names’ that no one could memorize has no scientific merit whatsoever.”

    That’s not what I said. I was talking about giving names to subsets of properties. Obviously each individual object is going to have a name regardless of whether it is a planet or not.

    But your objection to what you thought I said is premised on the idea that the planets are the only names we’d care about and have to remember. Which is basically my point, that the word “planet” itself has cultural and historical significance that goes far beyond any scientific merit. Which is zero — the name “planet” and the set of objects that fall in it is irrelevant.

    After all, if you make “planet” not depend on gravitational dominance, the set of non-stellar objects in our solar system which are gravitationally dominant still has 8 members. And every other property stays the same, too. Does Vesta or Pluto not falling in the category of “planet” in any way change the scientific interest of these objects? No, and that’s why we had/have missions to study these objects. What they are, and what we hope to learn from them, has nothing at all to do with what we *call* them.

    So my point is: Why specify every single combination of properties — which only considering roughly-binary properties leads to 3^n categories (each could be true, false, or don’t care)? Why specify only some “special” subset of properties, which necessarily means failing to capture distinctions that may be important? You’ll just end up adding adjectives and essentially doing what I propose when you want to distinguish between hot super earths and cold super earths, rogue ice giants and rogue gas giants. Are those going to get special names, too? Or maybe this style of nomenclature is ineffective for properly representing the breadth of objects out there?

  19. #19 Wow
    October 20, 2013

    ” Does Vesta or Pluto not falling in the category of “planet” in any way change the scientific interest of these objects?”

    Of course not.

    However, Pluto was discovered by an American Astronomer, but I’m sure there’s nothing relevant in that 8-)

  20. #20 Wow
    October 20, 2013

    “Yes, to be precise I’d say “hydrostatic equilibrium””

    Ah. Problem. No water :-)

    ““[you have to define] “Sun”. And “orbit”. And “round”. And the definition of “set” And…And…And… Or just say “planet”.”

    You’re kidding, right?”

    No.

    YOU DEFINED PLANET as “round object orbiting the sun”.

    Define orbit. Our moon goes round the sun. We pull it there.

    Define Sun. Jupiter is near-stellar, producing a notable fraction of the energy it receives.

    You didn’t think this through and rather than consider it decided merely to go hogwild and ignore any possible thinking on the subject.

    And then go ignoramus and try to imply that you were being sane in a mad world by going “Are you serious?”

    Extremely condescending and moronic and lacking in any sort of rationality.

    And, indeed a trolling comment.

    Your idea was bad and you should feel bad. Get over it.

  21. #21 CB
    October 20, 2013

    Wow: “Ah. Problem. No water :-)

    Ha ha?

    “YOU DEFINED PLANET as ’round object orbiting the sun'”

    Yes, and obviously all the terms needed to define planet must themselves be defined. They all also have reasonable definitions — ones that are already understood in context.

    YOU said that instead of going through this necessary exercise for defining a word: “Or just say ‘planet’.”

    Which, in the case where “planet” has a definition, necessarily means also defining the terms used to define planet, making that statement idiotic because it’s acting like it’s an alternative while it’s actually not.

    OR you avoid having to define the terms that define planet by not defining the word planet so it doesn’t mean anything, which would be even more stupid, just absolutely idiotic.

    So you either have the same “problem”, or avoid the “problem” by creating a real (stupid) problem. Good job!

    “You didn’t think this through”

    Once again you accuse others of what you yourself are guilty of, exacerbated by the accusation itself. It’s amazing how often you fail to connect two thoughts together and thus fail to understand a simple point. Even more weird is how it consistently happens when the point being made undermines your own.

    “Your idea was bad and you should feel bad. Get over it.”

    Your attempt to show this was stupid and you should feel stupid. You have to define ‘Sun’ and ‘orbit’ in any sane discussion of objects in the solar system. It is not in any way a reasonable objection.

    Come back when you have a real point. Try thinking about it, first, though.

  22. #22 CB
    October 20, 2013

    “However, Pluto was discovered by an American Astronomer, but I’m sure there’s nothing relevant in that”

    Yep, discovered by an American, and honored by Disney in cartoon dog form.

    But yeah, clearly irrelevant trivia. =D

  23. #23 Wow
    October 20, 2013

    “YOU said that instead of going through this necessary exercise for defining a word: “Or just say ‘planet’.””

    Yup.

    It’s a hell of a lot easier to say than “a round object that orbits the sun that is in the list of {….}, isn’t it.

    “Planet”
    vs
    “a round object that orbits the sun that is in the list of {….}”

    The point is the the first one is one people use. The second one is not what astronomers use, but similar, however they STILL have to talk to non-astronomers. Where they’ll use “Planet”.

    Your “alternative” throws out planet and then goes even worse than the current definition and ensures that nobody will bother to change.

    They’ll STILL call it planet.

    The astronomers have a definition. It ISN’T yours.

    But despite that definition, “Planet” will remain used. If anyone needs to know what it means, they can look it up.

    Most won’t give a monkeys.

    And for teaching kids, “Planet” will mean
    Mercury
    Venus
    Earth
    Mars
    Jupiter
    Saturn
    Uranus
    Neptune

    “A list of things that are planets”.

    It will not tell you how to decide whether Planet X is a planet if ever it’s found. Neither will yours.

    The AU version of the definition of the planet WILL.

    So your alternative throws that baby out and then decides to put dry ice in instead of water.

    And call it an improvement.

    Really?

  24. #24 Wow
    October 20, 2013

    I always thought Pluto was Goofy…

    snrk.

  25. #25 CB
    October 20, 2013

    “The astronomers have a definition. It ISN’T yours.”

    Wait, what? As I’ve been saying from my first post I think gravitational dominance is an important property for defining planet. I AM using the astronomer’s definition for “planet” and never suggested otherwise. I said “yes” when you gave that example in your one-previous post because I thought it was just an example, not the foundation of half your issues!

    Also, where did that “in the list of {}” nonsense come in? Arbitrary lists are not the kind of property I’m talking about.

    Now lets talk about the other half of your issues, which are from not defining planet at all.

    “however they STILL have to talk to non-astronomers.”

    Yes, I know. And why do non-astronomers care that astronomers use the word “planet”? Because of that historical and cultural significance I keep talking about. Keeeep talking about. That’s the only reason. It’s the only reason we teach kids specifically about this particular set of objects, and not just interesting objects in general — though even when I was first introduced to them, it included that they were big round objects in space that went in circles around the sun, as opposed to the asteroid belt which was a bunch of smaller objects that went around the sun. Do we really teach kids “this is the list of planets” and when they ask “what’s a planet?” teacher says “it’s the things in this list”? Sounds like nonsense to me.

    Anyway, scientifically, there’s no reason to care about what objects qualify as “planets”. That name has no inherent significance. The set of properties it is defined as may or may not be significant to any particular slice through the population of solar system objects someone is interested in. That’s why I said “ideally”.

    Trust me, as someone who works with x86 on a regular basis, I know the difference between what would be “ideal”, and what is “practically necessary” because of history.

    So, accepting that the word “planet” will remain in our vocabulary and that therefore a definition most in keeping with its past unofficial use is appropriate, do you have any objection to a hypothetical world where the word “planet” isn’t carrying along that baggage, and instead we only worry about objects with a set of properties we’re interested in?

    Nothing stops you from assigning a name to your favorite set of properties. The point is that there’d be no significance other than the properties it’s defined as, which would also be the most clear and precise way to communicate the concept. So no fights over definitions that ultimately don’t matter.

    “It will not tell you how to decide whether Planet X is a planet if ever it’s found. Neither will yours.”

    Now that’s just silly. Of course “my” definition (reading here the one you imagined I was proposing) would tell you how to decide. Just like the IAU’s does. Any definition that consists of having a set of properties allows you to know which objects fall under it by which objects feature that set of properties. Duh.

    Of course if you instead meant the case where I’m not defining “planet” at all, then duh it won’t tell you what’s a planet, because the whole point is it wouldn’t matter.

  26. #26 Wow
    October 21, 2013

    “Wait, what? As I’ve been saying from my first post I think gravitational dominance is an important property for defining planet”

    The defence of your “idea” isn’t made any more valid by saying “I just listed the names of the known planets the same as the official one!”.

    Your idea is pointless, a better one has already been done by experts, and nobody other than you thinks throwing away the word “planet” is a good idea.

    Get over it.

  27. #27 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    October 24, 2013

    Of course, Pluto and Ceres are planets. The IAU Executive Committee decided to ram a rancid resolution down the throats of the 400 or so members who attended the last day of the Prague General Assembly on St. Bart’s Day 2006. Another massacre was committed, just ask Mike Brown who thinks he killed Pluto. The IAU’s defintion of a planet is horrid, and many planetary scientists have rightly rejected it. If you want to kowtow to such horridness, they is your choice. I choose not to kowtow to an organization that whose Executive Committee has sent impish emails to me, full of arrogance; and, I must add, I know one member who said they were pressured to vote to demote Pluto at the threat of the destruction of their career as an astronomer. If that does not make you think the definition is flawed with subjective and possibly political considerations, then you are a lackey. Alexis de Tocqueville once said the worst insult you can hurl at someone is to say that they have “the soul of a lackey.” I suggest you reconsider your relationship to the IAU.

  28. #28 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    October 24, 2013

    If Earth was as far out as Pluto, it wouldn’t be a planet, either. As Dr. Alan Stern said (paraphrasing), that would be absurb for planets are based on Earth.

  29. #29 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    October 24, 2013

    and also absurd,……

  30. #30 StevoR
    October 25, 2013

    Good article Ethan -cheers.

    Although Triton is more an exiled ex-King than a current one.

    As for the big planet Pluto debate, I think Dwarf Planets are as much still planets as dwarf stars are dwarf stars are still stars.

    (And like with stars dwarfs are more common than giants.)

    The IAU definition is controversial and many , even professional astronomers disagree with it for a wide range of reasons.

    The IAU got it wrong in many ways because for starters they automatically excluded all planets outside or solar system and let’s face it this breaches the whole Copernican principle and is totally unjustifiable.

    It also by definition (literally!) excludes orphan planets which formed far from any star or were ejected from their suns early or later in their history.

    As #28 Mark Wrathell points out the IAU definition means that Earth would stop being a planet – and Pluto would become one – if their orbits were swapped. Clearly that situation is nonsense and a planet is a planet wherever it’s found.

    Furthermore just because there’s a lot of something in a relatively small area doesn’t mean it stops being what it is. Just because you have a zone with a lot of a certain type of planets (e.g. Pluto, Eris, and the other ice dwarfs) deosn’t make them not planets for the same reason that having a zone full of certain types of plant eg. a grassland means that grass isn’t a plant because its so common there.

    The IAU definition is clearly fatally flawed and will have to be changed (itis already effectively ignored every time we talk of planets around other stars,etc ..) and the sooner this happens the better.

    The alternative, new definition I’d suggest? Well it should be simple, easily determined and clear. I’d say an object is considered a planet if it meets three basic criteria :

    1) Never self-luminous via shining by natural nuclear fusion thus not a star.

    2) Gravitationally rounded by its own mass and thus not an asteroid or comet nucleus or other small body.

    3) Not directly orbiting another planet and thus not a moon.
    (note there are almost certainly cases where two worlds mutually orbit each other and in these cases both worlds would count as a double planet. This may be the case for Pluto and Charon.)

    So Pluto meets these criteria, so does Eris, so does Earth and Jupiter and so on.

    Yes, this means there’s a lot more than just nine planets in our solar system – so what? It makes sense to consider it divided into three zones -the rocky planets one (Mercury to Mars), the gas planets zone (Jupiter to Neptune) and the ice planets zone. (Pluto to Sedna.)

    I think this best reflects astronomical reality and is the way to go -and I also think the current temporary definition will be one that future children look back on with baffled astonishment that the IAU could embarrass itself so badly and come up with something so ridiculous.

    After all, Pluto has all the features of a planet as we usually consider it – moons (more than all the inner worlds put together!), internal differentiation, an atmosphere even weather – methane snow and perhaps rings as well. If its not a planet then nothing is! ;-)

  31. #31 Wow
    October 26, 2013

    “The IAU definition is controversial ”

    No.

    The only reason for it is something other than it being the one planet discovered by an American.

    The IAU decision is no more constroversial than the re-definition of the inch to be exactly 25.4mm.

  32. #32 StevoR
    October 27, 2013

    @ ^ Wow : “Not controversial” – seriously?

    Nonsense. If it wasn’t controversial we wouldn’t still be talking about it! It is very much a controversial issue and one that argued about by a whole lot of people – including many from outside the USA like me (I’m an Aussie.) and disputed by serious professional astronomers as wellas those in the public.

    For instance, Alan Stern among many other experts who were excluded from the last minute IAU vote* has flatly stated that the IAU’s decree was :

    “ … idiotic. I have nothing but ridicule for this decision.” (Alan Stern, P.28, ‘Astronomy Now’, October, 2006.)

    After the debate a huge number of objections were raised by astronomers of all levels and the general public too. Many modern astronomers still reject the IAU’s definition with some planetary astronomers going as far as including Vesta as the smallest terrestrial planet. (Read in an article on that in an astronomy magazine which was publsihed a while ago – forgotten exact name & source but can find later if you want.)

    But, really think of it this way, the main “logical” objection that Pluto-bashers seem to have against counting Pluto is that it is that there are other small similar ice dwarf planets such as Eris, Haumea, Sedna etc .. around it.

    Or to put it algebraically, X stops being X when surrounded by fellow Xs.

    If this “logic” were followed then people would stop being people as soon as they joined together in a crowd! ;-)

    The anti-Pluto “logic” really is that silly and I hope that example shows why the IAU got their definition terribly wrong.

    * The lack of democracy of the Pluto / Planet definition vote is clear by the fact that of the 10,000 IAU members only 2,500 attended the Prague meeting and of those 2,500 only the merest handful – just 424 actually got to vote making therefore a very unrepresentative decision. Notably a number of key Pluto & outer solar system experts incl. Stern weren’t present and thus unable to put an opposing case at that occasion.

  33. #33 StevoR
    October 27, 2013

    Minor correction to my #32 :

    the main “logical” objection that Pluto-bashers seem to have against counting Pluto is that it is that there are other small similar ice dwarf planets such as Eris, Haumea, Sedna etc .. around it.

    By “around” I meant “nearby” – for a certain value of nearby! These large ice dwarf planets (Pluto, Eris, Makemake, etc ..) are still spread very far apart in space – much more so indeed than the inner planets.

    (There are also a few typos and grammar stuff ups but I hope you forgive me and get the gist anyhow.)

    Which leads me to suggest the following thought experiment – if the inner solar system was more crowded with planets like Earth and Venus, perhaps in orbits that cross each others* do you really think that would stop them being counted as proper planets? Ditto, what if Jupiter had another two or three or five or ten similar gas giants crossing its orbit or in a similar zone in perhaps a hypothetical extra gas rich and chaotic alien planetary system? How many nearby worlds and how close before a planet of whatever category – gas giant, rock dwarf or ice dwarf – ceases to count as a planet?

    I think the answer is that however many planets (whether Earth-like, Pluto-like or Jupiter-like) there are nearby – and don’t forget we’re starting to find some pretty crowded exoplanetary systems and more no doubt are out there – a planet is still a planet.

    If anyone disagrees then please explain why and what you think we should call such planets in such circumstances then.

    I’d also like to note this article by Ken Croswell :

    http://kencroswell.com/NinthRockFromTheSun.html

    providing his alternative definition and argument because I think its well worth reading and contemplating in this context.

  34. #34 StevoR
    October 27, 2013

    Plus Ken Croswell asks a couple of great thought-provoking questions on his site which I’d also like to link here if this is okay :

    http://kencroswell.com/PlutoQuestion2.html

    Hope it is and apologies and please let me know if it’s not Ethan Siegel.

    (Not sure how many links I can post at once without triggering moderation or spam filter hence this separate comment.)

    PS. Click on the articles and scroll down to find the first and also fascinating Pluto question there. If you want to naturally but I’d certainly recommend it!

  35. #35 Wow
    October 27, 2013

    “By “around” I meant “nearby” – for a certain value of nearby! ”

    Well if there were no value for “nearby” the word would have no meaning, would it.

    You’re insisting on one of the planks of denial here (an impossible standard) because you DO NOT WANT Pluto excluded.

    If, as you claim, you have no problem with having dwarf planet == planet, then why the contortions of logic to insist it must be treated differently.

    Pluto isn’t a planet.

    Get over it.

  36. #36 Wow
    October 27, 2013

    “@ ^ Wow : “Not controversial” – seriously?”

    Yes.

    Seriously.

  37. #37 StevoR
    October 27, 2013

    * (From #33) “if the inner solar system was more crowded with planets like Earth and Venus, perhaps in orbits that cross each others.. ”

    This was, in fact, almost certainly was the case early on in our solar system’s history hence Earth’s Moon’s formation among other things and could become the case again later on in solar systems evolution as well – see :

    http://kencroswell.com/MercuryCrash.html

    Suggesting that Mercury could eventually end up colliding with Earth due to gravitational perturbances accumulating and causing a chain reaction of sorts over aeons.

  38. #38 Wow
    October 27, 2013

    “This was, in fact, almost certainly was the case early on in our solar system’s history”

    And before the sun coalesced, there was no earth to reference “wanderers” to.

    Empty, Stevo. Completely empty.

    Did you know that there was no language of humans to name things in those dim and distant days?

    True story!

  39. #39 StevoR
    October 27, 2013

    @ Wow :

    You keep making assertions without logical argument or examples.

    Why exactly may I ask do you think Pluto isn’t a planet?

    Where exactly have I erred in logic or fact in your view?

    Could you please answer the hypothetical questions I asked in comment 33?

    Also please tell me if you think that having enough of also Xs around sudden somehow makes X into not-X? (E.g. if enough people gather into a crowd do they stop being people?) Because that’s the main reason I see for people asserting that Pluto isn’t a planet – and you should by now see why that claim is illogical and even ridiculous.

  40. #40 StevoR
    October 27, 2013

    @ 38. Wow : “Did you know that there was no language of humans to name things in those dim and distant days?”

    So by that “logic” of yours there all of palaeontology is out of business because we can’t name dinosaurs and trilobites and all these other things that still existed long before we did – let alone have cosmologists discussing the Big Bang!?

    There’s language we use now and that’s why we an discuss the past on whatever scale we choose.

  41. #41 StevoR
    October 27, 2013

    PS. @Wow : Did you read the links I’ve provided for you and try answering Croswell’s Pluto questions? How did you do and what do you think of them?

  42. #42 Richard S.
    United States
    October 27, 2013

    StevoR says, “It makes sense to consider it divided into three zones -the rocky planets one (Mercury to Mars), the gas planets zone (Jupiter to Neptune) and the ice planets zone. (Pluto to Sedna.)”

    I guess that rules out Ceres as a planet.

  43. #43 Wow
    October 27, 2013

    And hot Jupiters are ruled out from being planets.

  44. #44 StevoR
    October 29, 2013

    @ ^ Wow : No. Because I was talking here only about the structure of our solar system. Other planetary systems can and do have other ways of being organised including Hot Jupiters close in.

    @42. Richard S. : No, I’d count Ceres as among the inner rock dwarfs.

  45. #45 Wow
    October 29, 2013

    Stevo, you’re not listening.

    Your new “explanation” is now that you were going to define planets as “only those things orbiting OUR sun”. Well, that makes your new definition even MORE worthless.

  46. #46 Wow
    October 29, 2013

    PS where the effing eff do you get the new “rocky dwarf” shit from?

    How about calling Pluto a “rocky dwarf” too?

    Oh, no, that won’t do because Pluto has to be a planet, right?

  47. #47 StevoR
    October 29, 2013

    @^ & 45. Wow. No. That’s not what I’m saying at all. The exact opposite.

    It is the current IAU definition that defines “planet” in that way as I think I’ve already noted. Read a bit more closely, mate.

    As where I get rock dwarf from, hmm. do the words “gas giant” ring any bells for you? Plus yellow dwarf, blue dwarf, white dwarf, red dwarf etc .. ;-)

    Makes sense to call relatively small rocky planets “rock dwarfs” following that precedent and I’m pretty sure I’m not the first to come up with that term.

    There’s probably also a case for calling some rocky sure Earth’s “rock giants” and some other so-called super-Earth’s that may be more like mini-Neptune’s gas dwarfs in fact I believe Sara Seager suggested that at one stage.

    Seeing as I’ve answered all your points, you care to reciprocate and finally answer my earlier questions in this thread in comments 33, 39, & 41?

    (Or you just trolling bro’? Kinda looks that way to me.)

  48. #48 Wow
    October 29, 2013

    “It is the current IAU definition that defines “planet” in that way as I think I’ve already noted. ”

    So when did you change from:

    “The IAU definition is controversial and many , even professional astronomers disagree with it for a wide range of reasons.”

    To an “I agree with the IAU’s definition”?

    “As where I get rock dwarf from, hmm. do the words “gas giant” ring any bells for you?”

    Yes. Gas Giant does ring a bell. It’s been used for decades. However, care to elaborate how “Gas Giant” defines “rock dwarf”?

  49. #49 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    October 29, 2013

    @Wow #46: Sometimes its hard to tell when you are being rhetorically dense, vs. whether you really are as obtuse as you appear.

    Let’s play a little game. Describe a non-luminous macroscopic astrophysical object. Give it a two word label of the form . The first adjectival noun may be chosen from the list {rock, liquid, gas, ice}. The second adjectival noun may be chosen from the list {dwarf, planet, giant}.

    Notice that the construction and the form of each label is the same. Anyone (else) with a reasonable grasp of English and an ability to recognize patterns would have figured that out for themselves, given StevoR’s writing.

  50. #50 Wow
    October 29, 2013

    Yes, I am aware that cromulence can indeed become a legitimate word, Mike.

    And I likewise also understand that “rocky dwarf” means “a rocky small planet” in this context.

    Still, thanks for telling me shit I know. Care to answer the queries I *did* have? You know, the ones I actually wrote, rather than ones you think I missed out?

    TIA.

  51. #51 Wow
    October 29, 2013

    Mike, if you’re looking for questions not asked, why not “Why is it you think that all solar systems must have inner rocky planets, then gas giants then ice?”.

    Especially odd to consider when I mentioned Hot Jupiters (which would be in the “rocky planets” area) but summarily pooh-pooh’d by Stevo.

    Did your gimlet stare not go that far?

  52. #52 Lonny Eachus
    October 29, 2013

    “Trust me, as someone who works with x86 on a regular basis, I know the difference between what would be “ideal”, and what is ‘practically necessary’ because of history.”

    Haha. That’s a good one. I’m going to remember it.

  53. #53 StevoR
    October 30, 2013

    @ 48. Wow :

    “So when did you change from: “The IAU definition is controversial and many , even professional astronomers disagree with it for a wide range of reasons.”To an “I agree with the IAU’s definition”?

    I didn’t. I totally disagree with the IAU definition for teh reasons I listed in comment #30 including :

    ” .. The IAU got it wrong in many ways because, for starters, they automatically excluded all planets outside or solar system and let’s face it this breaches the whole Copernican principle and is totally unjustifiable. It also by definition (literally!) excludes orphan planets which formed far from any star or were ejected from their suns early or later in their history.

    Yeesh, that was only like the very first point I actually wrote immediately after the quote you gave there! How did you miss that?

    “Yes. Gas Giant does ring a bell. It’s been used for decades. However, care to elaborate how “Gas Giant” defines “rock dwarf”?”

    By contrast. You have gigantic gas giant planets and then you have the rocky worlds that are dwarfed in comparison just like you have blue giant stars that dwarf yellow dwarf stars such as our Sun and this has been the conventional astronomical terminology for a long time now so keeping to that seems eminently reasonable.

    @50. Wow : “Care to answer the queries I *did* have? You know, the ones I actually wrote, rather than ones you think I missed out?”

    What, you mean just like how you’ve rather hypocritically failed to answer every question I’ve asked *you* Wow?

    How about you answer the following questions that have already put to you & are being asked thrice now :

    1) Why do you think Pluto is NOT a planet precisely?

    2) Did you read the links I’ve provided for you and try answering Croswell’s Pluto questions? How did you do and what do you think of them?

    3) Do you you think that having enough things that are X together suddenly somehow makes X into not-X? (E.g. if enough people gather into a crowd do they stop being people?)

    @51. Wow : “I mentioned Hot Jupiters (which would be in the “rocky planets” area) but summarily pooh-pooh’d by Stevo.”

    Wow, you sure do get get it wrong don’t you? Your lack of comprehension of what I’ve clearly stated amazes me. I’ve got nothing against Hot Jupiters and have actually used them to support my case here.

    Planets come in a whole lot of varieties covering a vast range of sizes and orbits such as Hot Jupiters, rock dwarfs, gas dwarfs, gas giants, ice giants, ice dwarfs etc .. and *all* of these are still planets. Whether they are Hot Jupiters or ice dwarfs or whatever. The diversity in planets size, orbits, etc .. is like the diversity in animals, plants and stars. Ie. very broad indeed. ( Analogous to the differences in size between Blue Whales versus Bed Bugs, Sequoia sempervirens (Giant Redwoods) to algae, Betelgeuse to the Crab Nebula Pulsar.)

  54. #54 Wow
    October 30, 2013

    “Your lack of comprehension of what I’ve clearly stated amazes me. I’ve got nothing against Hot Jupiters ”

    Irony. Definiton. Claiming someone else has clearly not comprehended what was said and then does precisely that in their following sentence.

    You see, numbnuts, the problem here isn’t that you made up the name rocky planets, nor that you don’t like Hot Jupiters, but that the presence of Hot Jupiters in what you have “defined” planets to be: the rocky planets near the sun, gas giants further out and ice planets in the distance, means that there can be no planets unless they are icy ones after the Hot Jupiter.

    You pooh pooh’d there was any problem with your assinine “definition” crafted solely to keep Pluto in as a planet (moronically, by merely saying “it will be this list” which apparently would be updated if any new ones were found, but cannot be updated for Ceres to be added nor updated to remove Pluto. By edict alone).

    Is this getting through that thick skull now?

  55. #55 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    October 30, 2013

    Wow

    Try not to go troll on us, okay? Calling people “numbnuts” is contemptible given the circumstances. Someone thinks Pluto and the other dwarf planets are planets and you get your panties in a bunch and start name-calling? Really? Are you a lackey of Mike Brown or Mike Brown himself perhaps?

    The IAU ramrodded that resolution down the throats of the remaining attendees of the 2006 GA on the last day of it, without proper vetting or notice, and one member has stated publically that he was threatened with the destruction of his astronomical career were he to side with Pluto. Does that not goad your conscience?

    There should be three sub-classes of planets. Jovian, terrestrial, and dwarf. Sedna may not be a dwarf, as far as I know. By the way, the name is Mike, not Mark.

    Try to be succinct, people. Be kind to those who want to be in this discussion. Everyone has an opinion. Share it, but if you want to write a novel, send those to a literary agent.

    Have a nice day.

  56. #56 Wow
    October 31, 2013

    Well, Mike, being deliberately obtuse, ignoring what’s said to say something else, and assuming incompetence in your rephrasing is also contemptible.

    I guess contempt can be found all over the place, eh?

    Pluto isn’t a planet because any definition that doesn’t special plead Pluto in includes planets that make the numbers ridiculous or excludes Pluto.

    “rocky planets” aren’t going to be a definition of planet any more than “Chimpanzee” is going to be a definition of a simian.

    “The IAU ramrodded that resolution down the throats of the remaining attendees of the 2006 GA”

    Like the Senate “ramrodded a resolution” down the throats of the Republicans?

    When those remaining attendees are going to dig their heels in because their sense of national pride is more important than resolving a classification problem, then of course it’s going to be “on the last day”.

    By the way, using that language is contemptible. Just letting you know.

    And lastly, Steveo’s “definition” was no improvement over it, becoming merely a list of “things we’ve named that are the ones I was taught in school so I won’t be wrong”.

    “There should be three sub-classes of planets. Jovian, terrestrial, and dwarf.”

    THERE ARE.

    However, the definition of planet needs to be made for you to make SUBCLASSES of *PLANETS*.

    Which was why “rocky planets” was no damn definition of planet at all.

    That you are extremely partisan is entirely why you’ve come over all butthurt on this. And your partisanship is evident by you choice of attribution of malice to the IAU when a minority wanted to find some special pleading to keep Pluto, discovered by a USian scientist, a planet.

    “Everyone has an opinion.”

    And everyone has an arse. This does not make them speak truth.

  57. #57 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    October 31, 2013

    There is not one definition of planet that counts as official just because 424 astronomers, most of whom are not even planetary scientists, say there is. SOME astronomers use this definition, but it is completely inaccurate to generalize and say that all or even most use this definition. There are several planet definitions in use by astronomers, and none has more merit than the other–meaning this is the subject of ongoing debate. In science, something does not become “the truth” just because a so-called authoritative body says it is. The IAU definition remains controversial seven years later because it was poorly and hastily constructed and does not take into account alternative views and new discoveries in planetary science. The fact that the IAU leadership refuses to even revisit this issue indicates the group is more interested in safeguarding its perceived “authority” than in safeguarding the science of astronomy. The idea of dictating a definition once for all eternity and never again revisiting the issue is the action of a church, not of a scientific organization.

    “Pluto isn’t a planet because any definition that doesn’t special plead Pluto in includes planets that make the numbers ridiculous or excludes Pluto.”

    This statement is ridiculous. A geophysical planet definition in which any non-self-luminous spheroidal body, either orbiting a star or free floating in space (to include rogue planets), makes perfect scientific sense. In contrast, the notion of “making the numbers ridiculous’ makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The universe has a “ridiculously” large number of galaxies, stars, and yes, planets. Get used to it.

    A good recommendation by some astronomers is the creation of a system to classify planets similar to the Herzsprung-Russell Diagram used for stars. Such a system could incorporate the many subclasses of planets based on age, location, composition, etc. Planet is a broad category; the subcategories are what distinguish the many types of planets.

    It is actually more sensible to call Pluto a rocky dwarf than an icy dwarf since Pluto is estimated to be about 70 percent rock. Eris, being 23 percent more massive, is likely even more rocky. Ceres appears to be a small terrestrial planet that might even have a subsurface ocean.

    The discovery of rogue planets illustrates that even a “requirement” that an object orbit a star to be a planet is problematic. Rogue planets are not self-luminous, so they are not stars. They cannot clear their orbits because they don’t have any orbits. Granted, we don’t know much about their composition yet, but if they are not planets, what then are they?

  58. #58 Mike Wrathell
    Earth (Detroit)
    October 31, 2013

    Wow

    First of all, thank you for your concern over the comfort of my posterior. That is very touching. It is fine, I will have you know.

    What of my comments do you find obtuse? I saw a video of the rancid resolution being ramrodded. Pluto huggers were cut off in mid-sentence during that session. Ms. Bell reluctantly gave the mic to a Pluto hugger and then crossed her arms contemptuously as he spoke. Her body language and demeanor were atrocious and shameful. So why can’t you give your real name? Do you like being a troll and calling people numbnuts that much that you are afraid to reveal your real name? C’mon, dude, get real.

  59. #59 Wow
    October 31, 2013

    “Ms. Bell reluctantly gave the mic to a Pluto hugger and then crossed her arms contemptuously as he spoke”

    Well, yeah.

    Just because someone is being an ignorant arse doesn’t mean you have to pretend they aren’t , Mike.

    Pluto hugging was just Team America being butthurt.

    Get over it.

    It’s still there.

  60. #60 StevoR
    October 31, 2013

    @ ^ Wow : I’ma Pluto hugger and I’m an Australian, of English-Aussie background and no USA family connection. (Visited there once for a week that was all.)

    It bothers me because its such a clearly wrong definition and so inconsistent with the rest of astronomy.

    @54. Wow.

    “You see, numbnuts, ..”

    Needless personal abuse – yep , you’re a troll alright, not that I or anyone else reading would have had much doubt of that by now.

    “…the problem here isn’t that you made up the name rocky planets,”

    I didn’t “make up” the name just used an already common terminology.

    … nor that you don’t like Hot Jupiters,..

    I like ‘em just fine. Can’t say I’d want to live on one but they are remarkable planets in their own rights.

    “..but that the presence of Hot Jupiters in what you have “defined” planets to be: the rocky planets near the sun, gas giants further out and ice planets in the distance, means that there can be no planets unless they are icy ones after the Hot Jupiter.

    Bzzzt. Wrong. I defined planet back in my first comment here ( # 30) as :

    1) Never self-luminous via shining by natural nuclear fusion thus not a star.

    2) Gravitationally rounded by its own mass and thus not an asteroid or comet nucleus or other small body.

    3) Not directly orbiting another planet and thus not a moon.

    The description of the specific arrangement in our solar system was a seperate thing entirely and not part of that definition.

    But I guess you are probably already aware of this and just trolling to stir things up. Not mad bro’ – your’e too obvious and poor quality a troll for that. ;-)

  61. #61 StevoR
    October 31, 2013

    @57. Laurel Kornfeld : Well said and seconded by me.

    “A good recommendation by some astronomers is the creation of a system to classify planets similar to the Herzsprung-Russell Diagram used for stars. Such a system could incorporate the many subclasses of planets based on age, location, composition, etc. Planet is a broad category; the subcategories are what distinguish the many types of planets.”

    Absolutely right. We already know and have a whole menageries of star types from blue supergiants which are millions of times brighter than our Sun and so large their surfaces would extend out to Mars if placed in our solar system at one extreme to the numerous faint red dwarfs that shine with hundredths of a solar luminosity and are only the radius of Jupiter in size.

    So too do we already know of gas giant planets bordering on brown dwarf star territory in mass and size down to
    ice dwarfs like Sedna about a quarter of Pluto’s size for planets. Astronomy contains a really diverse range of objects and “planet” has to be a really broad and inclusive category just like “star” because of that.

    “It is actually more sensible to call Pluto a rocky dwarf than an icy dwarf since Pluto is estimated to be about 70 percent rock. Eris, being 23 percent more massive, is likely even more rocky.”

    Another good point there. The ice dwarfs, at least many of them are more rock than ice. I guess I think ice more because of the distance and chill in that far outer realm of our solar system.

    ” The discovery of rogue planets illustrates that even a “requirement” that an object orbit a star to be a planet is problematic. Rogue planets are not self-luminous, so they are not stars. They cannot clear their orbits because they don’t have any orbits. Granted, we don’t know much about their composition yet, but if they are not planets, what then are they?”

    Exactly.

    Also if you did have a rogue planet on collision course with Earth (or any other planet) – then Earth (or whichever other planet) would then automatically stop being a planet just because its orbit therefore wasn’t “clear”* showing again how silly the IAU definition really is.

    * Thinking of which we already have asteroids and comets that cross all planetary orbits s that no orbit is *ever* really “clear” anyhow.

  62. #62 StevoR
    October 31, 2013

    PS. Wow. I notice you still haven’t answered any of my questions as asked politely a few times most recently at #47.

    Oh & you seem to be prejudiced against Americans “Wow” -did you realise that you’re being anti-American on a blog written by an American? A bit churlish as well as bigoted of you I think.

  63. #63 Wow
    November 1, 2013

    Well, Steve, lets look at the questions in #47.

    > As where I get rock dwarf from, hmm. do the words “gas giant” ring any bells for you?

    Answered. My query about “What the fuck does that have to do with it” went unanswered. Responded? Yes. Answered? No.

    Next:

    “Seeing as I’ve answered all your points, you care to reciprocate and finally answer my earlier questions in this thread in comments 33, 39, & 41? ”

    Seeing as you didn’t answer them…

    But that seems to be the only two questions.

    One answered and the other a “russian doll” one and insisted on being answered because you confused a reply with an answer.

  64. #64 Wow
    November 1, 2013

    “I’ma Pluto hugger and I’m an Australian”

    Whoop de doo. Nice for you. What does that do? Nowt.

    “It bothers me because its such a clearly wrong definition”

    Yes, repetition of a claim with zero supporting evidence is not proof of the repeated claims’ veracity.

    In short, YOU’RE STILL WRONG.

    “and so inconsistent with the rest of astronomy. ”

    See above.

    “Needless personal abuse – yep , you’re a troll alright,”

    Needlessness is irrelevant. It was DESERVED personal abuse, numbnuts. Don’t like it? Don’t act nuts. Simples.

    “I didn’t “make up” the name just used an already common terminology.”

    Yup, you never read #54, ’56, did you. Even though you quoted it:

    “…the problem here isn’t that you made up the name rocky planets,”

    If the problem wasn’t you making up the term (which I never claimed you made the fucking term up you tiresome retard), then why the FUCK are you whining “I never made the term up?”

    IF THAT ISN’T THE PROBLEM claiming you never made it up DOES NOT RESPOND TO THE PROBLEM YOU RETARDED SHITHEAD!

    Get it?

    “Bzzzt. Wrong. I defined planet back in my first comment here ( # 30) as”

    BZZT WRONG.

    You re-defined it later. Shall I quote what you said since you deliberately ignore what you spout when you like it?

    > It makes sense to consider it divided into three zones -the rocky planets one (Mercury to Mars), the gas planets zone (Jupiter to Neptune) and the ice planets zone. (Pluto to Sedna.)

    You won’t see it because you’re too busy going “I WANNA PLUTO! I WANNA PLUTO! GIMME A PLUTO! YOU STOLE MY PLUTO!!!”

    It’s still there, numbnuts.

    It’s not a planet.

    It’s still there.

  65. #65 Wow
    November 1, 2013

    “Absolutely right. We already know and have a whole menageries of star types from blue supergiants”

    Moron, he’s not talking about different stars.

    He’s talking about the different organisations of planets in a solar system.

    Ours is not the only organisation of planets possible.

    Which is why your “definition” SUCKS DONKEY BALLS.

  66. #66 Mike Wrathell
    Earth (Detroit)
    November 1, 2013

    Wow,

    It seems rather pointless to continue this charade of an reasoned argument between two points of view, given your name-calling and lack of cogency, but I will say a few more things to wrap this up on my end. Many well-respected planetary scientists like Alan Stern and David Rabinowitz signed a petition protesting the demotion of Pluto. You act as though only “morons” and “numbnuts” hug Pluto.

    You are right that Ms. Bell has the right to cross her arms and show her hand regarding her position on Pluto. It was unprofessional, of course, as was her cutting off other Pluto huggers in mid-sentence and ramrodding the rancid resolution down the throats of the IAU’s membership, but she has the right to her opinion, as do you.

    I am not going to go into a point by point rebuttal with you as my time is valuable and you seem to have nothing better to do than cast aspersions on people behind a fake name.

    If this is the best that you can do, you are not much of an astronomer or whatever it is you are.

  67. #67 Wow
    November 1, 2013

    Blah blah blah, mike.

    Even if I’m rude, that doesn’t make your asinine assertions, nor Steve’s, right.

    If that’s all the proof you have against, me, try again.

  68. #68 Wow
    November 1, 2013

    “and ramrodding ”

    Yeah, the complaint of any asshat that doesn’t get their way and are overruled.

    ” the rancid resolution”

    “WAAAH I WANNA PLUTO!!!!!”. Rancid.

    Really?

  69. #69 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 1, 2013

    Wow,

    Yes, rancidly ramrodded rancid resolution. What makes my assertions assine, the fact that you like to swear? I can swear, too, but do not want to sink to your level, Wow. You are ignoring my points, bro. I guess it is okay for you to ignore points,huh?

  70. #70 Wow
    November 1, 2013

    “What makes my assertions assine”

    The fact it’s completey whiney made up bullshit?

  71. #71 Wow
    November 1, 2013

    Mike, when a vote is made and the vote doesn’t give you the answer you want for no damn reason at all, losing the vote is called “Democratic process” not “ramming down my throat”.

  72. #72 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 1, 2013

    Ramrodded because not proper notice or vetting, so Pluto huggers had already “czeched” out of Prague hotels and flown home, and because of the rude manner of Bell during the rancid session that went against the by-laws.

    And, given that one IAU member voted against Pluto solely due to his career as an astronomer being threatened. He stated this publicly. Just because you say I am bullshitting doesn’t make it so.

    Who farted and made you the Queen of Sheba?

  73. #73 Wow
    November 2, 2013

    Mike, losing a vote is not having the results rammed down your throat.

    “And, given that one IAU member voted against Pluto solely due to his career as an astronomer being threatened.”

    That’s

    a) histrionic bullshit.
    b) absolutely no reason to say it must be a planet
    c) not the IAU’s problem

    You DO know people lie, right? Just because they say so, doesn’t mean their assertion is right.

    Who died and made you dictator for life?

  74. #74 Mike Wrathell
    Earth & Pluto (well, I'm in exile)
    November 2, 2013

    Wow

    a. I have no reason to believe he is lying, except to please you.

    b.There are plenty of sound reasons for Pluto’s replanetization or a petition with the sigs of 100s of planetary scientists would not exist protesting said rancid resoltion.

    c. If bullying and intimadation and ramrodded were factors in the final vote to demote, yes, that is a problem, but that is not the only problem with the new def. It’s problems have been well-documented. Earth doesn’t even clear its path, bro. It has at least 19,500 asteroids that cross its orbit according to NASA.

    d. At least I am not the Queen of Sheba, bucco!

  75. #75 Wow
    November 2, 2013

    a) what the hell do you think is going to happen to make him lose his job if pluto is going to not be a planet?

    b) no there aren’t.

    c) and if losing the vote massively (it wasn’t even a close vote) is “ramming” then piss off to some dictatorship

    d) you’re a fucking idiot. This is not an improvement.

  76. #76 Wow
    November 2, 2013

    The final, third draft definition proposed on 24 August was:
    “ The IAU…resolves that planets and other bodies in the Solar System be defined into three distinct categories in the following way:

    (1) A planet [1] 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 [2], (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.

    (3) All other objects [3] orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as “Small Solar System Bodies”.[note 1]

    [1] The eight planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

    [2] An IAU process will be established to assign borderline objects into either dwarf planet and other categories.

    [3] These currently include most of the Solar System asteroids, most Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), comets, and other small bodies.
    .
    .
    .
    Resolution 5A constituted the definition itself as stated above. There was much discussion among members about the appropriateness of using the expression “cleared the neighbourhood” instead of the earlier reference to “dominant body”, and about the implications of the definition for satellites. The Resolution was ultimately approved by a near-unanimous vote.

  77. #77 Craig Thomas
    November 3, 2013

    There seems to be this tiny rump of people still in denial of Pluto’s non-planet status. The IAU didn’t “ram” anything through anyone. What a bizarre conspiracy-theory…

    Get over it.

    Here’s a question, though: bearing in mind the vast extent of the Kuiper Belt and the distribution of Pluto-sized objects already detected, can we predict how many more Pluto-sized objects remain to be discovered?

    Additionally, if inhabitants of the Kuiper Belt have orbits that bring them within Neptune’s orbit, then those objects are part-time Kuiper Belt objects, a new category?
    Either that, or Triton can be a Kuiper Belt object despite having permanently emigrated?

  78. #78 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    November 4, 2013

    @Craig Thomas #77:

    Your first question was addressed in a recent Astron.J. article! See http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.7049, where they estimate about 12, with 9 already known.

    The objects which spend “some time” in the Kuiper Belt, are referred to as “scattered disk objects” (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scattered_disc).

  79. #79 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 4, 2013

    The petition is even online. I didn’t say ram. I said ramrodded. Pluto is larger than Eris and ever other KBO. Accept reality. Pluto will get its just desserts. Then your nuts will be numb.

  80. #80 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 4, 2013

    I have stated the facts. If you think reality is bizarre, that is your right.

  81. #81 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    November 4, 2013

    Here is the petition signed by 300 professional astronomers rejecting the IAU definition:
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/planetprotest/

  82. #82 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    November 4, 2013

    The claim that only a tiny group oppose the IAU decision is completely untrue. Many astronomers around the world continue to reject it and/or ignore it entirely. And this has nothing to do with winning or losing. The fact is, the IAU violated its own bylaws by putting a hastily thrown together resolution on the General Assembly floor without first having it approved by the appropriate committee. The IAU misled the original 2,500 astronomers in attendance by leading them to believe the original resolution approved by their appointed committee would be put to the General Assembly floor only to scrap that resolution and replace it with another one. The IAU was asked in 2009 by a group of planetary astronomers to reopen the issue and refused, clearly showing its leaders are more interested in their imagined “authority” than in real science. So far, only one other Pluto-sized object has been detected in the Kuiper Belt, and that is Eris, which according to the geophysical planet definition, is also a planet. Several objects roughly two-thirds the size of Pluto, clearly spherical and in hydrostatic equilibrium, have been found there, and these are small planets too. They all have stable orbits. The Scattered Disk is the outermost region of the Kuiper Belt where Eris is located. Pluto, Haumea, and Makemake are not in the Scattered Disk. However, Pluto Haumea, Makemake, and Eris can all be dually classed as both small planets and as Kuiper Belt Objects. The classifications are not mutually exclusive. The first tells us what they are; the second tells us where they are.

  83. #83 Wow
    November 5, 2013

    “The claim that only a tiny group oppose the IAU decision is completely untrue.”

    Nope, it’s completely true. They minuted the meetings and the results of the votes are available. You can check it yourself.

    “Many astronomers around the world continue to reject it and/or ignore it entirely.”

    Meaning what? The definition is wrong? Nope. That a word means what you want it to mean, no more, no less? Well, THAT’S a knock-down, drag-out argument for you…

    “The IAU misled the original 2,500 astronomers in attendance …”

    Of whom very few thought that Pluto had to remain a planet.

    “The IAU was asked in 2009 by a group of planetary astronomers to reopen the issue and refused, clearly showing …”

    That a lunatic fringe who refuse to lose the vote will be ignored in the interests of getting something that means something done.

    This isn’t like a member meeting for “Shall we de-mutualise this building society” where you get to ask again and again if the majority of members vote “No” against the wishes of a few.

    It was voted. Near unanimity for the proposal. Nothing to vote for again.

    None of you loons seem to be able to say WHY it’s so devastating that Pluto isn’t a planet.

    Hence I stick to my original assertion: it’s a ‘merkin invention, hence inviolate. ‘Cos you is *special*, see.

  84. #84 Wow
    November 5, 2013

    “Here is the petition signed by 300″

    Out of around 6500 possible signatures.

    Yeah, that 300 aren’t Spartans fighting the Persians, you know. 300 votes won’t win a vote, no matter how much you whine.

  85. #85 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 5, 2013

    I prefer to be a sparrow, not a loon, if you don’t mind too terribly. There will be another vote, genius. Get over yourself. The definition is absurd and that’s why it will go the way of the Dodo.

  86. #86 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 5, 2013

    A proper case for Pluto wasn’t made in Prague due to shenanigans already elucidated. Moreover, the vote was far from unanimous. Math not your forte, Holmes?

  87. #87 Wow
    November 5, 2013

    “I prefer to be a sparrow, not a loon”

    And this is why you consider having lost the vote equal to being given the bird?

    Near unanimous vote: resolution passed.
    Result: Pluto not a planet like Earth, Mercury,Jupiter et al.

    Net difference in the existence of Pluto: Nil.

    “The definition is absurd ”

    For reasons which are apparent as long as you never look…

  88. #88 Wow
    November 5, 2013

    “A proper case for Pluto wasn’t made in Prague due to shenanigans already elucidated.”

    Yeah, those shenanigans being “don’t let the lunatics run the show”.

  89. #89 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    November 5, 2013

    Actually, Earth has more in common with Pluto than with Jupiter. Both Earth and Pluto are rocky and geologically layered into core, mantle, and crust. Both Earth and Pluto have large moons formed via giant impact. Both Earth and Pluto have nitrogen in their atmospheres. In contrast, Jupiter has no solid surface whatsoever. Its composition is hydrogen and helium, very much like that of the Sun. Jupiter has a “mini-solar system” of moons and rings. Putting Earth and Jupiter in the same category but excluding Pluto makes absolutely no sense.

    Many professional astronomers are not IAU members, so they had no say in this whatsoever. Furthermore, of 10,000 IAU members, only 2,500 attended the beginning of the 2006 General Assembly, and only 424 were left by the time the vote took place. Most who left early, including Dr. Owen Gingerich, chair of the IAU’s Planet Definition Committee, said had they known a resolution other than the one they recommended would be put to the General Assembly floor on the last day, they would have changed their plans and stayed until the end. The majority of the 424 who did vote are not planetary scientists but other types of astronomers. To paraphrase Dr. Stern, that is like having divorce lawyers vote on a matter of corporate law.

    Furthermore, the IAU is only now exploring the option of electronic voting for members who cannot be present at the General Assembly. Up to now, if a member wasn’t in the room on that particular day, he or she had no say whatsoever. Many astronomers pay their own way to the General Assemblies and cannot afford to stay the entire two weeks. The 2006 vote was therefore representative only of those present in a room in Prague on August 24, 2006, not of all astronomers or all planetary scientists.

    If you watch the video where the vote took place, it is obvious that some who voted did not fully understand what they voted for. Resolution 5a is the one that passed by a large margin, but that resolution only established the three categories of classical planets, dwarf planets, and small solar system bodies. Resolution 5b, which would have established dwarf planets as a subclass of planets, failed 333-91. Immediately after the vote, one astronomer tried to make a motion to add Pluto to the list of “classical planets” only to be told the vote was over. Clearly, at least one PhD present did not fully understand the resolution on which he had voted.

    If you look at the list of 300 professional astronomers who signed the petition rejecting the IAU definition, you will find some of the world’s leading planetary scientists–hardly a “lunatic fringe.” Wow, I don’t know where you get the “out of 6,500 possible signatures.” Who are you counting? The petition was kept open only for three days to make an immediate statement.

    This is not about winning and losing and it is not about wanting Pluto as a planet. It is about an attempt to force a highly problematic planet definition on an entire field and on the world, a definition that amounts to interpretation rather than fact. This isn’t even something that should be voted on. Did anyone vote to accept gravity or relativity? Did anyone vote on whether the universe has one or many galaxies? The answer to all these is no. It is the facts, not someone’s interpretation of the facts or a vote on whose interpretation is liked better, that ultimately determines what is what in science.

  90. #90 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 5, 2013

    Wow,

    Your unmitigated hate and spleen is looney toony. Your case is non-existence, and your sense of humor is that of a wooden spoon. The Dark Side won on the 434th anniversary of St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, but the forces of Light haven’t been extinquished. 300 distinguished scientists signed that petition,and that is just the tip of the iceberg, Holmes. Yes, you won a vote by 333 to 91 that day due to unspeakably disgusting shenanigans, but a new day dawns every day, dude. Moreover, the case for Pluto grows every day. Bruno Sicardy of the Paris Observatory wrote a paper saying data strongly suggests Pluto is at least 12 km larger than Eris in diameter, for example. We know Earth doesn’t clear its orbit by a long shot. We know rogue planets do not fit the defintion, too. It is a weak, politically-driven definition whose supporters are trolls and other miscreants. That definition’s days are numbered. Why are you so misled, dude? Are you one of Mike Brown’s lackeys?

  91. #91 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 5, 2013

    “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

    ― Winston Churchill

  92. #92 Wow
    November 5, 2013

    “Both Earth and Pluto are rocky ”

    So is the stone in my shoe, however, it isn’t a planet.

    So is Ceres, but that’s not a planet.

    So is Titan, but thats not a planet.

    Moon? Not a planet. Rocky.

    Pluto is 1/5th the diameter of Earth, which means less than 1% its mass. Or about 2/3rds the earth’s moon.

    “Both Earth and Pluto have large moons formed via giant impact.”

    Charon wasn’t created by the same process. Moreover, our moon isn’t a normal way to get a moon.

    “Furthermore, the IAU is only now exploring the option of electronic voting for members who cannot be present at the General Assembly”

    This does not make the vote before wrong.

    “If you watch the video where the vote took place, it is obvious that some who voted did not fully understand what they voted for.”

    Really? But these people know how to decide what’s a planet?

    I don’t think so.

    “Resolution 5a is the one that passed by a large margin, but that resolution only established the three categories of classical planets”

    Aaaaand you’ve lost it.

    No, resolution did not define classical planet. Indeed the resolution for that lost on a small majority.

    Sorry, when you call on us to take it as “truth” that “clearly some did not know what they voted for” asserted by merely watching a vote WHEN YOU GET THE RESOLUTION VOTED FOR WRONG, it *really* doesn’t build your case.

  93. #93 Wow
    November 5, 2013

    “Your unmitigated hate and spleen is looney toony.”

    Ah. Irony is this?

    Because WHO was it who said that a lost vote was “Ramming down [others] throats”? Was that you? I think it was

  94. #94 Wow
    November 5, 2013

    “I m\y be drunk but in the morning I will be sober, whilst you will still be an idiot”

    — Winston Churchill.

  95. #95 Wow
    November 5, 2013

    “300 distinguished scientists signed that petition,and that is just the tip of the iceberg,”

    Yeah.

    Right.

    Just like all those proofs of alien visitation will be leaked “any day now”…

  96. #96 P Edward Murray
    Yardley, PA
    November 5, 2013

    The word “Planet” comes from The Greek meaning ‘Wanderer” since these objects “wandered” about the sky.

  97. #97 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 5, 2013

    I see you are rambling now. Have you been drinking? Yes, I said “ramrodded.” Ceres was a planet, of course, and is now a dwarf planet; thus, when Pluto is replanetized, so will Ceres as it meets every logical requirement to be a planet. Just like a chihuahua is still a dog. It does not matter if the particular chihuahua is on the small side as far as chihuahuas go, or if the chihuahua was born in America or in France or in Burkina Faso. I was not around when Charon was created, so I will not chime in on that one. Just how old are you?

  98. #98 Laurel Kornfeld
    November 5, 2013

    Resolution 5a NEVER said that dwarf planets are not planets. Many who voted for 5a also voted for 5b. Advocates of a geophysical planet definition have no problem with 5a, but they also support 5b, which places both planets (at times referred to as “classical planets” during the discussion) and dwarf planets under the broader umbrella of planets. 5a would be even better if it subdivided “planets” into terrestrials and gas giants/jovians.

    The only mass that matters, at least to the geophysical planet definition, is the threshold for an object being in hydrostatic equilibrium, meaning rounded by its own gravity. The stone in your shoe is not in hydrostatic equilibrium, and it is already part of an existing planet. Ceres, being spherical and in hydrostatic equilibrium, IS a planet; 19th century astronomers’ telescopes were not powerful enough to resolve it into a disk, so they didn’t know this. Titan and Earth’s moon can be considered as satellite or secondary planets. Their structures, compositions, and processes are very much like those on the primary planets; the only difference is that these objects orbit other planets instead of orbiting the Sun directly. Moons of giant planets in other solar systems may very well be capable of hosting life.

    Is there a “normal way” to get a moon? One could answer no; there are many ways in which planets can get moons. Triton appears to have been captured by Neptune. We are still learning how Earth’s moon formed, and the fact is, it and Charon are the only known large moons in this solar system to have formed via giant impact. Discoveries of exoplanet systems are continually sending scientists back to the drawing board when it comes to understanding the formation of solar systems and planetary systems.

    If you watch the video of the vote, you can tell that there was a strong emphasis on time constraints and that these resolutions were rushed through with so many last minute changes to the point that many in the room did not have the time to fully process the resolutions in detail. Moreover, the ongoing discoveries of exoplanets and new knowledge about objects in our own solar system (such as Dawn’s discovery that Vesta is more like a terrestrial planet than like an asteroid) are themselves a compelling case for revisiting this issue.

  99. #99 P Edward Murray
    Yardley, PA
    November 5, 2013

    WOW,

    Let’s say you discovered a new object, possibly a planet and then years later other folks came along and dissed your discovery?

    What would you think?

    Of course I ask this question in all sincerity because I have discovered but I don’t know that you have.

    I think you wouldn’t like it very much!

  100. #100 StevoR
    November 5, 2013

    @63.Wow :

    “Well, Steve, lets look at the questions in #47.
    ” As where I get rock dwarf from, hmm. do the words “gas giant” ring any bells for you?” – StevoR
    Answered. My query about “What the fuck does that have to do with it” went unanswered. Responded? Yes. Answered? No.” – Wow

    Answered and rebutted yes actually as reasonable people can see from reading comments # 53 & 60 here.

    “Next:
    “Seeing as I’ve answered all your points, you care to reciprocate and finally answer my earlier questions in this thread in comments 33, 39, & 41? ” -StevoR
    Seeing as you didn’t answer them…
    But that seems to be the only two questions.
    One answered and the other a “russian doll” one and insisted on being answered because you confused a reply with an answer.” – Wow

    No, Wow, its you who is very confused – or are being deliberately obtuse and just trolling here. My actual questions which you have repeatedly ignored and failed to answer were & remain :

    1) Why do you (“Wow”) think Pluto is NOT a planet precisely?

    2) Did you read the links I’ve provided for you and try answering Croswell’s Pluto questions? How did you do and what do you think of them?

    3) Do you you think that having enough things that are X together suddenly somehow makes X into not-X?

    (E.g. if enough people gather into a crowd do they stop being people? Do animals stop being animals when they gather in herds and as the answer to both of those is clearly not so must it be with planets – getting a lot of planets in one – rather huge – area together doesn’t stop them being planets either.)

    Those are the questions I was referring to and which you have continuously failed to answer, Wow.

    As for abusing me in all caps and constantly merely insulting me and others who’ve rebutted your weak excuse for arguments well, you’ve really given the game away there on your trolling here and own lack of class and ability to argue rationally. You have demonstrated yourself to be a troll of very low intellectual and ethical quality indeed.

  101. #101 StevoR
    November 5, 2013

    @ 77. Craig Thomas :

    “There seems to be this tiny rump of people still in denial of Pluto’s non-planet status. The IAU didn’t “ram” anything through anyone. What a bizarre conspiracy-theory…Get over it.”

    Its no conspiracy theory but the reality as the facts of the Prague IAU meeting show.

    Nor is it just a small group who disagree with an IAU definition that gets ignored and shown to be ridiculous every time someone describes an exoplanet as just a planet.

    Since “Wow” (full name – Wow what a troll?) is clearly incapable of answering my questions, maybe you could give me your answers to them, Craig Thomas please?

    “Here’s a question, though: bearing in mind the vast extent of the Kuiper Belt and the distribution of Pluto-sized objects already detected, can we predict how many more Pluto-sized objects remain to be discovered?”

    The search has been going on for a very long time and we still haven’t found anything larger than Pluto and Eris. That seems to suggest that bodies that size are relatively rare and most of the major one’s have already been discovered at least in the Edgeworth-Kuiper Cometary Belt (EKCB) region. Maybe larger objects still await discovery out in the more distant reaches of Oort Cloud.

    I expect the search to continue and answers eventually will come.

    “Additionally, if inhabitants of the Kuiper Belt have orbits that bring them within Neptune’s orbit, then those objects are part-time Kuiper Belt objects, a new category?”

    As well as seconding the answer given by Michael Kelsey at #78, I’ll add there is a class of objects that cross the orbits of outer planets and can swing far out into the Edgeworth-Kuiper cometary belt classed centaurs named following the discovery of the large asteroid / cometary nucleus Chiron in around the late 1970’s-early 1980’s.

    These objects – like comets generally – originated further out and have migrated inwards over time into unstable planet-crossing orbits.

    “Either that, or Triton can be a Kuiper Belt object despite having permanently emigrated?”

    I think it makes more sense to say that Triton was the “King of the Kuiper belt” but then migrated inwards and was captured by Neptune becoming its largest moon. IOW Triton used to be a member of the EKCB but now isn’t anymore although a mission to Triton would certainly tell us about EKCB objects because of its past history although much of its original surface will have been heavily affected and modified by its capture into retrograde Neptunian orbit.

  102. #102 StevoR
    November 5, 2013

    @94. Wow : “I m\y be drunk but in the morning I will be sober, whilst you will still be an idiot”
    — Winston Churchill.”

    You are certainly no Winston Churchill Wow.

    When (if?) you ever sober up, Wow, sadly you will likely remain an idiot and / or obnoxious troll judging by your comments here.

    @P Edward Murray : “The word “Planet” comes from The Greek meaning ‘Wanderer” since these objects “wandered” about the sky.”

    Correct. Pluto and Eris and the other ice dwarfs wander across the sky too – just relatively very slowly because of their distance. Of course we now know of them and of much more than the ancient Greeks could have imagined.

    @93. Wow :

    “Your unmitigated hate and spleen is looney toony.”
    Ah. Irony is this? Because WHO was it who said that a lost vote was “Ramming down [others] throats”? Was that you? I think it was
    [sic]”

    Thing is the statement about the Pluto vote being rammed down people’s throats is factually accurate and you have, in fact been attempting – unsuccessfully – to do that ramming yourself thus disproving your own supposed point.

    Meanwhile, Wow, your own comments clearly reveal that you *are* indeed as described above a bit of a loony tune or at pretending convincingly to be so with comments that are hateful as well as tiresome , abusive, lacking in reading comprehension and lacking in any substance and logic.

  103. #103 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    “You are certainly no Winston Churchill Wow. ”

    Was that meant to be a zinger, Steve?

    It failed.

  104. #104 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    “WOW,

    Let’s say you discovered a new object, possibly a planet and then years later other folks came along and dissed your discovery?”

    That’s what happens ALL THE FUCKING TIME you moron.

    Dawn Horse? Renamed because the first fossil was misidentified as belonging to an early hippo.

    Brontosaur? Renamed because the first fossil was named by someone else.

    Moreover, where do you think pluto went when it lost its planet status? Do you think it wandered off in a sulk to find another star where it could be called a planet?

    No.

    Lastly, that’s fuck all reason for Pluto to be called a planet.

  105. #105 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    “Resolution 5a NEVER said that dwarf planets are not planets.”

    Never said it did.

    5a said that Pluto wasn’t a planet. 5b (may have been 5c) asked for a definition of “classical planet” to be added to give three subgenera, but it lost by a moderate, but not large, margin.

    Still failing 100%.

  106. #106 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    ” Yes, I said “ramrodded.” ”

    And that was hateful, spiteful and vindictive reattribution of a fair vote you lost.

  107. #107 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    Steve, your entire bullshit is still FUCK ALL reason for Pluto to be a planet.

    Your original assertions were shit and did nothing to help other than beg the question of whether Pluto should be a planet at all.

    Your subsequent bullshitting, like Mikes, merely increased the special pleading and nonexistence of any reasoning for Pluto to be required a planet.

    “Someone said they’d lose their job!”.

    How?

    No reply was the answer.

    “How would you like it if your discovery were dissed”.

    How is it being dissed?

    It was by any measure dissed by being originally thought 10x heavier than it was.

    Why does that mean Pluto should be a planet merely to make someone happy?

    “There are many reasons!”

    What reasons?

    No answer.

    “Here are 300 people!”

    Out of thousands.

    “Yeah, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg!”

    Yeah, of course it was. Now go and put yourself back in that padded room, lunatic.

    “Yeah, well, you’re no Winston!”

    Oh, that was supposed to hurt?

    “I HATE YOU!!!”

    Fuck off.

  108. #108 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    “Thing is the statement about the Pluto vote being rammed down people’s throats is factually accurate”

    Nope.

    Its factually fatuous.

    It was voted.

    Nearly unanimously voted for Pluto not being a planet.

    If it had gone the way you wanted, how would it NOT have been even more “ramrodded” down the vast majority of throats?

  109. #109 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    “1) Why do you (“Wow”) think Pluto is NOT a planet precisely?”

    Because it doesn’t meet the requirements for a planet, you fucking idiot.

    “2) Did you read the links I’ve provided for you and try answering Croswell’s Pluto questions? How did you do and what do you think of them?”

    No.

    “3) Do you you think that having enough things that are X together suddenly somehow makes X into not-X? ”

    Yes.

  110. #110 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    Note, Steve, that that Q3 was completely vapid shit and I had to guess that what you REALLY wanted was

    Do you think that Planets that included Pluto in their list can no longer include Pluto in their list if the definition of Planet includes scores or even hundreds of objects. Because there’s no consistent X that could be inserted into that asinine and confused query that would make ANY sense.

  111. #111 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    …definition of Planet that can include Pluto in their list also…

  112. #112 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    Here’s a reason why Pluto shouldn’t be a planet: Gustav Holst’s “The Planet Suite” doesn’t have Pluto in it, therefore if Pluto becomes a planet, you’re making his masterpiece wrong!

    How would you like it if someone came along and made your orchestral master work wrong, huh?

  113. #113 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 6, 2013

    Wow,

    The vote was not fair. It was ramrodded. You think a ramrodded vote can be fair? Looks like you are the dictator. Stalin would be very proud of how the IAU ramrodded the demotion of Pluto down the throats of the general membership. So would John Holmes and Ron Jeremy.

    I never heard of Gustav Holst. He is no Mozart and you, Sir, are no Churchill.

  114. #114 dean
    November 6, 2013

    It was ramrodded.

    People continue to say that, but the only “reason” they give is that proposal was passed and as a result Pluto was declassified as a planet.

    The fact that a vote has an outcome of which you disapprove does not mean there were shenanigans during the vote.

    The big question I have is this: what real difference does the result make? Why are people upset about this?

  115. #115 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    “I never heard of Gustav Holst.”

    And I never heard of anyone who said they were going to be made unemployed if Pluto wasn’t a planet. Does that mean he doesn’t exist?

    “He is no Mozart”

    No, that’s why he has a different name, Mike.

    That’s how you tell different people apart, generally.

    This public information bulletin brought to the local internet idiot by a helpful stranger.

  116. #116 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    “The vote was not fair. It was ramrodded.”

    As dean says: “I lost” does not define “ramrodded”, moron.

  117. #117 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 6, 2013

    The vote was ramrodded because of reasons listed ad nauseum by Laurel Kornfeld and by me. Don’t be coy with me, Mr. Wow. You know very well I am not saying that the mere fact of losing a vote constitutes ramrodding. Perhaps if you engaged your mind instead of your knee-jerk trollness, you would realize that you are on the wrong side of the issue.

    As far as Gustav goes, maybe I will listen to his so-called masterpiece someday. He is not really part of the problem here.

    The problem is ramrodding.

  118. #118 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    “The vote was ramrodded because of reasons listed ad nauseum by Laurel Kornfeld and by me.”

    Such list being

    1) Someone said they’d lose their job
    2) They got the wrong answer

    These are not reasons, dear.

  119. #119 Wow
    November 6, 2013

    Oh, forgot another “reason” you listed:

    3) 300 people signed a petition!

  120. #120 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 6, 2013

    No notice. No vetting. Earth doesn’t clear its orbit, either. 300 distinguished scientists. Not 300 trolls, honeypie.

  121. #121 dean
    November 6, 2013

    Mike, you seem to confuse personal anecdote with evidence (proof, if you will). You still haven’t made your case – or, equally curiously, explained why it is (to you) so massively important that Pluto remain in the planet category.

  122. #122 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 6, 2013

    dean,

    I don’t. As far as anecdotes about why I like Pluto, such is not relevant here.

  123. #123 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 6, 2013

    The case has been made ad naseum, dean.

  124. #124 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 6, 2013

    It is very sad, pitiful, and pathetic that in a purely scientific debate such as the status of Pluto and the other dwarf planets, the pro-Pluto side is demonized in a most juvenile manner as idiots, numbnuts, “unable to understand the difference between fact and anecdote,” et cetera. Also, I have been told repeatedly to make a case then this thread is about a mile long, much of it devoted to the making of a case. Derp.

    You guys are a trip and a half. Why don’t you read Alan Boyle’s book entitled “The Case for Pluto” if you are unable to process the case on this thread. You can ask for it for Christmas or Nationa Puppy Day or whatever. That is all.

  125. #125 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    November 6, 2013

    Gustav Holst’s “The Planets Suite” does not have Earth in it either, so I guess according to you, Wow, Earth isn’t a planet.

    Resolution 5a never said that Pluto wasn’t a planet. It simply listed three classes of objects–planets, dwarf planets, and small solar system bodies. Resolution 5b would have combined the first two classes of objects under the broader umbrella of “planets.”

    The footnotes to these resolutions were a source of tremendous confusion. The executive committee went back and forth about whether the footnotes “counted” as part of the resolution multiple times, to the point that even those who voted were confused. The footnotes to 5a listed Mercury through Neptune as planets, contradicting the main portion of the resolution, which set three categories but left the planet status of dwarf planets up to 5b. There was no resolution 5c. All this was done in direct violation of IAU bylaws because none of these resolutions was first vetted by the proper IAU committee.

    If having enough things that are X together suddenly somehow makes X into not-X, then stars in dense clusters should not be considered stars, and galaxies in dense clusters should not be considered galaxies.

    This is not about winning and losing. Stop thinking in terms of a football game. It is about a poor decision made hastily by people who are not experts on planets in a process that excluded far more astronomers than it included. People inherently understand the political nature of these shenanigans; they know what happened in 2006 was not science. That is why so many, including knowledgeable professional and amateur astronomers, continue to oppose that decision.

  126. #126 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 7, 2013

    Innately, too…..

  127. #127 Wow
    November 7, 2013

    “Gustav Holst’s “The Planets Suite” does not have Earth in it either”

    By design.

    Planet means “Wanderer” and refers to a “star” that wanders across the earth’s sky.

    The sky is the bit that doesn’t include the earth itself.

  128. #128 Wow
    November 7, 2013

    “No notice.”

    You mean apart from the 10 days spent arguing over it?

    “No vetting.”

    You mean allowing people who are at the IAU meeting to vote and not checking that they all are morons who “wanna Pluto!!!”?

  129. #129 Wow
    November 7, 2013

    “I don’t.”

    We know you don’t. You have to if you want to explain why it has to be a planet.

    “As far as anecdotes about why I like Pluto, such is not relevant here.”

    It is entirely relevant. See above.

  130. #130 Wow
    November 7, 2013

    “the pro-Pluto side is demonized in a most juvenile manner as idiots, numbnuts, “unable to understand the difference between fact and anecdote,” et cetera. ”

    Well lets see what evidence we have here, since we’re scientists, right?

    Juvenile? No evidence given against me on that score.

    Idiots. Well, see the “He said his job was gone if Pluto wasn’t a planet and I believed him!”. So it appears that there’s evidence there.

    numbnuts. You have “Ramrodded” as a synonym for “accepting the voting majority” and insist that this is, without any evidence, fact. Appears to be evidenced.

    “Cannot distinguish between anecdote and fact”. Well, for a start, it was “evidence”. And you’ve had “someone would lose their job!!!” as “evidence” that shows Pluto has to be a planet. Another evidenced based observation.

  131. #131 Wow
    November 7, 2013

    “This is not about winning and losing.”

    Weird. Ever think of doing that yourself?

    Pluto isn’t a planet.

    Live with it.

  132. #133 Wow
    November 7, 2013

    One proponent of making Pluto a planet claims:

    “That’s what everyone said, and that’s what everyone had said since the last planet – Pluto – had been discovered way back in 1930.”

    Except this is 100% wrong.

    Ceres: 8th Planet (1801) Became Asteroid (1851). Now Dwarf Planet.

    Neptune. 13th Planet (1846). Now 8th Planet.

    When the argument for Pluto remaining a planet is “It’s been one since 1930″, that is no argument for it, merely “It’s what I was taught, dammit!”. But even then, when it’s based on a LIE, then there’s no argument at all.

    In the case of this lie, there are two options:

    1) They know they lied, in which case, they know the argument is false.
    2) They didn’t know. But in this case, how can they be held as having valid opinion when they have heard a “factoid” and never even checked the basics about it? So here, rather than malice, it’s sheer incompetence.

  133. #134 dean
    November 7, 2013

    This is not about winning and losing.

    Yet that is what your posts seem to be making it: you (and others, I am not laying it all at your door) have done nothing but state, in long terms, that you are upset at an outcome you do not like.

    It is about a poor decision made hastily by people who are not experts on planets in a process that excluded far more astronomers than it included.

    This comment leads me to my other question (again): if you are concerned about Pluto being declassified, there must be (or would be, in a logical argument) some reason, scientific, not personal, that the decision is troubling. The fact that you cannot or will not state one leads this observer back to the thing you so heartily deny: that is really is about “winning and losing”, and you are upset that your position “lost”. The supplied “arguments”, being merely more whining from others, don’t change that fact.

  134. #135 Wow
    November 7, 2013

    “The fact that you cannot or will not state one”

    Well, apart from shilling a book to buy, rather than state what, in that book, makes them think Pluto should be a planet.

    And a book whose sales, no doubt, are used as “proof” that Pluto should remain a planet…

  135. #136 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 7, 2013

    Shilling? Stop whining, dude. You can keep reading Mike Brown’s narcissistic tripe if that’s your thing. At least it will spare me from your jejune posts for a few hours.

  136. #137 Wow
    November 7, 2013

    Yes, you do know what “shilling” means, right?

    “Buy this book! Please!”

  137. #138 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 7, 2013

    Ugh!

  138. #139 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    Uh?

  139. #140 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    So mentioning a book to you is a bad thing and will automatically make you say I am shilling. Grow up. Okay, don’t ever read another book. Stick to Sesame Street and Nora the Explorer, but just stop whining about how people are shilling. It is very annoying and immature. It is also a very easy insult. I think you can do better than that. It is a soft target.

    I have said ramrodding is not the same as being on the wrong side of a vote. So it seems I am wasting my time having a dialouge with you. You are like a parrot, constantly accusing me of the same things. If you think I am going to share personal, anecdotal stories with a person who flings insults at me, you are gravely mistaken. Moreover, despite your best attempts at persuasion, they have no relevance to the case for Pluto and dwarf planets whatsoever. There is plenty of evidence and strong arguments for dwarf planets being a subcategory of planets. For example, the sun is a yellow dwarf star and also a star. Why are dwarf stars considered stars, yet dwarf planets not considered planets? The same is true for dwarf galaxies. The IAU had it out for Pluto. We know this. Circumstantial evidence exists to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt in the minds of those who are not delusional and resort to calling people idiots,morons, and numbnuts. I realize you will never question why the sun is a dwarf star and also a star yet Pluto only a dwarf planet because you are interested in “winning” your little blog battle with me and Laurel, but some people are actually intellectually honest enough to consider the arguments made by differing points of view. To repeat another point you have consistently ignored, Earth has at least 19,500 asteroids that share its orbit, as counted by NASA and reported a few years ago. What you do with this evidence is up to you. I suggest you do more with it than play with it along with your Dora the Explorer doll, but do with it what you will.

  140. #141 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “So mentioning a book to you is a bad thing”

    No.

    Saying “Buy this book” is a shilling thing.

    Saying “Read this book” rather than explain what it is you think it contains that is pertinent is a bad thing.

    Saying “Shilling? Stop whining, dude.” rather than point out any argument in the book that you think relevant is a bad thing.

    Saying “Urg” rather than any actual sentence of any relevance is a bad thing.

    Saying “So mentioning a book to you is a bad thing” when that is another strawman to avoid any actual content is a bad thing.

    These are bad things that you do. Just because you do them does not mean anything you think can be upbraided as ridiculous when you strawman them.

  141. #142 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    I have said ramrodding is not the same as being on the wrong side of a vote.

    dean has said ramrodding is not the same as being on the wrong side of a vote.

    NEITHER of us have said you have said “ramrodding is not the same as being on the wrong side of a vote.”. That is yet another strawman.

    You and others have said that you lost the vote is ramrodding the voted decision down your throats.

    Which isn’t saying that losing the vote is the same as being on the wrong side of the vote, but saying that your being on the losing side of the vote is the only reason you’re calling it ramrodding.

  142. #143 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “To repeat another point you have consistently ignored, Earth has at least 19,500 asteroids that share its orbit”

    None of which cause any orbital perturbation to the earth, therefore it has cleared its orbit.

    Pluto is massively locked to Neptune and therefore is as locked to it as we are to the sun.

    Therefore Pluto has not cleared its orbit.

  143. #144 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    Just let it go, dude. I mention a book and you get all bent out of shape like I am Hitler or something. What is wrong with you? If I said buy it (and I am not going to scroll and see what exact verb I used) then I am sorry. Go to the damn library, but whatever you do, do not check out that book, rather, check out Mike Brown’s tripe. Or check out a Nora picture book. Geeze, why can’t you let things go? You are the one obsessed with “winning.”

    I said Ugh, nor Urg. I didn’t have the time or patience to say anything else at the time, but wanted to express my frustration and disgust at having to deal with your incessant misconstructions of my posts. You should consider taking up comedy. Maybe you could make a few drunks laugh at the end of the night before they waddle off to their cars.

    As far as Pluto being locked to Neptune, I will have to check up on that. I know Pluto and Charon are tidally locked. I do not pretend to know everything.

    I used ramrodding in the context of the holding of the vote. Why did certain members go home and other not? Why was one person threatened? Could it be that the Exectutive Committee hand-picked and choose who they told about the vote on Pluto on the last day of the GA, while letting known Pluto huggers fly away from Prague before the said rancid session? Yes, perhaps the ramrodding began even before the actual session. Had the vote been fair and square, with proper notice and vetting, and without anecdotes of intimidation and threats, I wouldn’t have used the term ramrodding, even if the vote went the way it did.

    I know what ramrodding means and used the term correctly. If you want to continue to beat this horse, you may, but I will have you know it is quite dead.

    Do you have any other fake gripes with my posts to bitch about?

  144. #145 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    ” I mention a book and you get all bent out of shape”

    Uh, nope.

    1) kept banging on about the book rather than state your own opinion
    2) not bent out of shape, calling you out on your empty blatherings

  145. #146 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “As far as Pluto being locked to Neptune, I will have to check up on that.”

    WHAT THE FUCK?????

    THIS, THIS RIGHT HERE is why the pro-pluto fellators like yourself are fucking moronic buffoons with nothing to say:

    RESEARCH YOUR FRIGGING SUBJECT FIRST.

    But I suppose it’s the moron charter: have an opinion, make it strong, and FUCK informing yourself before getting one!

    Jesus minging fucking christ, before you fuck about with how pluto is all a planet, like, and the entire IAU assholes, how about you first find out what the hell you’re on about first?

    Or is work too difficult for you?

  146. #147 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “I know what ramrodding means and used the term correctly”

    Nope, you haven’t.

  147. #148 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “Why did certain members go home and other not?”

    Why did certain members decide to go home rather than vote?

    “Why was one person threatened?”

    Because he was threatening others and told to play nice or eff-off?

    “Could it be that the Exectutive Committee hand-picked and choose who they told about the vote on Pluto on the last day of the GA”

    It’s possible. Just as it’s possible that yesterday is a figment of your imagination, impregnated there by a malicious god having a laugh at your expense.

    Could it be that the executive merely tried to get agreement and this takes time and that the result is just what people who have something relevant to say agreed on it?

    “Yes, perhaps the ramrodding began even before the actual session.”

    Yes, perhaps this is all a ploy by the Jewish State to manipulate the markets to allow the Lizard Alien Overlords who have dressed up as the Windsors to get the UK working for the subjugation of humanity. Perhapes this goes all the way back to the formation of the Jewish “family” of the Rothschilds, back to 400BC…

    “Had the vote been fair and square, with proper notice and vetting”

    It had both.

    The vote, however, isn’t one you like. So it MUST be a conspiracy!

  148. #149 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    You are probably making that whole Neptune thing up. Pluto has its own orbit, dude. There is a theory that Neptune has something to do with Pluto, but that is all it is. Pluto has hydrostatic equilibrium and an atmosphere. It is a planet. Rogue planets don’t even have an orbit and are planets. You failed, again, to tell me why a star can be a dwarf star and a star. Probably because you have no glib retort at the tip of your tongue. I used ramrod correctly. Just because you blather on doesn’t make my usage incorrect. You are the one obsessed with “winning” here, blathering about the Jews and pissing and moaning that I mentioned that you might want to read a book. Please don’t read that book, ever. In fact, please never read another book, because I might be blamed for that, and I will have to read more of your bizarre posts about how I forced a book down your throat. Oh, and go ahead and think Pluto is a comet or whatever twisted thing you might think Pluto is, even though some of the greatest scientists in the world think it is a planet. Your opinion clearly is not based on fact or science. You have a little bit of knowledge, and enjoy pistol-whipping people with it.

  149. #150 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “You are probably making that whole Neptune thing up.”

    Yeah, and I went and edited all the books on astronomy to do so!

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Seriously, you believe a guy who claims he’s out of a job if Pluto doesn’t remain a planet because “[you] have no reason to believe he is lying, except to please you.” yet you believe I’ve made it up WITHOUT EVER LOOKING merely to please yourself.

  150. #151 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    PS yet more strawmen arguments off you you internet retard.

    Well done.

  151. #152 dean
    November 8, 2013

    Mike, you do realize that this was the end result of a search to find a definition of a planet don’t you? That there had never been a specific definition? That an earlier suggestion (prior to the meeting) would have kept Pluto but also included numerous smaller bodies, and that was met with a great deal of resistance, correct?
    The fact that Pluto has had a special emotional place for many people is understandable, but it is not a scientific reason for keeping it as a planet.
    Your repeated complaint that the Earth’s orbit is not cleared is stating only part of the problem: Pluto’s orbit is filled many things <b which are similar to it while the other planets’ orbits are not. It is fundamentally different in that respect, despite your assertions to the contrary.
    Finally, it should be noted that the voting process was not different than that used for other issues – again, despite your assertions to the contrary.
    You haven’t provided any scientific reasons the result is incorrect: all your claims, and your references, boil down to “it is wrong because we don’t like it and Pluto deserves to be a planet”. I return to your refusal to provide your own reasons for doing this: I believe you realize the science is not on your side and that your argument is sentiment-based only. Being passionate about an issue can be good, but passion alone does not make a scientific argument.
    I’m not sure why you’ve decided on this to be your personal windmill to chase. However, you would be taken more seriously if your comments were in the least sense based on the facts rather than on opinion, second/third level anecdotes, and foot-stomping.

  152. #153 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    dean,

    I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t paint me in a false light, a caricature. I have stated numerous reasons. One that neither you nor Wow has addressed is why the sun is a star and a dwarf star and why dwarf galaxies are also allowed to be galaxies. I was not born yesterday. I have two degrees. I know the difference between objectivity and subjectivity. I am not merely stating opinions. So give me a break. You want to turn me into a strawman so you can think this issue is over and done with. It is not. The science is continually rolling in. Bruno Sicardy’s date suggests Pluto is larger than Eris, for example. If you want to harp on the fact that I mentioned a book by Alan Boyle like Wow ad nauseum, go ahead. I am tired of these baseless accusations that I am being subjective. Speak to the substance of my posts, please. Both you and Wow seem to have some intelligence, so why must you continually put me down and dismiss me? It is too easy, dude. You are talking down to me like I am the student and you are the teacher, or I am a singer on American Idol and you are Simon. I am stated arguments that both of you have not addressed. Try looking inside yourself instead of kicking me in the nuts for a nice little change of pace. The vote in Prauge was tainted. The resolution was specifically tailored to demote Pluto. Moreover, there is anecdotal and circumstantial evidence that it was done purposely. Therefore, it would be best to reopen the debate. Alan Stern thinks the new definition of a planet is a farce. He is a distinguished planetary scientist. Are you and Wow going to try to kick him in the nads, too?

    As far as the orbits of Earth and Pluto being different, fine. No orbit of any planet is the same. The fact remains that if Earth was in Pluto’s orbit, it would not clear its path. The further a planet is from our dwarf star, the larger it must be. This means that what is a planet in one area would not be a planet in another area. Therefore, the current defintion is arbitrary and capricious. It was also quickly whipped up on the last day of the 2006 GA. Such a definition doesn’t do justice to our wonderful solar system.

  153. #154 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t paint me in a false light, a caricature.”

    Begging the question: is it false?

    “One that neither you nor Wow has addressed is why the sun is a star and a dwarf star and why dwarf galaxies are also allowed to be galaxies.”

    Because it’s irrelevant.

    Note, by the way, two other “points” raised by you were answered and nothing ever changed about your assertions when they were debunked.

    Pluto is a dwarf planet. Earth is a planet.

    They both orbit the sun. But that’s where their similarities end.

    Pluto is a dwarf planet. Mercury is a planet.

    They both orbit the sun. But that’s where their similarities end.

    And so on.

    Pluto is a dwarf planet, not a planet.

    What, precisely, is your problem on that score?

  154. #155 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “No orbit of any planet is the same.”

    Not in the definition of a planet, dear.

    “The fact remains that if Earth was in Pluto’s orbit, it would not clear its path”

    Incorrect.

  155. #156 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    ““The fact remains that if Earth was in Pluto’s orbit, it would not clear its path”

    Incorrect.”

    Or correct.

    Depends what you are trying to say.

    If Earth being tidally locked by Neptune and Neptune orbit crossing, then, yes, Earth would not be a planet.

    Why is this a problem for you? If ducks were horses, would you ride a duck, not a horse?

    However, if the Earth were at Pluto’s distance and retained the “cleared its orbit”, which is true for Earth in its orbit, then it would be a planet because it has cleared its orbit of perturbating influences on its trajectory.

  156. #157 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    Dean, I wonder if this isn’t merely another anti-science person finding SOMETHING to claim that scientists (who exist in ivory towers and are not *really* human) are evil scum of the earth, declaring everyone else has to bow to their edicts.

    You know, same as the whine about “LHC could DESTROY THE EARTH!!!!!!”.

  157. #158 dean
    November 8, 2013

    Do you know what “clearing its orbit” means? It means an object must be massive enough to absorb smaller objects in its path or so that its gravitational field can move them. The Earth fits that (it is, if I remember correctly, nearly 2 million times the mass of other items in its orbit.)
    Stern does try to argue (with a more scientific basis than has been demonstrated comments above) that the Earth should would not be considered a planet according to that requirement, but he has failed to be convincing to his fellow scientific community. He also states that having only 400 out of 9000 IAU members vote could not give a representative choice, an interesting argument. Over 2000 people were registered at the conference, approximately one-half were at the session where the vote took place. For some reason, (‘only”) roughly 400 of those found the proposal important enough that they took part in the vote. The 400 hardly constitute a random sample, but a case could be made that the population of astronomers who were interested in this issue were the 1000 in attendance, and the voting group is a large (self-selected) sample. You could (I would have to think more) argue that the 400 voters were THE population to whom this issue mattered most strongly, and so the fact that the vote went strongly in favor of the proposal would then indicate that there is no serious opposition among those showing an interest.

    Now this was hardly a case of “ram-rodding” (whatever that non-defined word means) a vote. The notion that the proposal was written at the last minute is deceptive at best: there had been three different proposals being discussed and reviewed in the time leading to the vote: discussions held, objections and suggestions for changes were made. Some of the items were changed, some weren’t. During the pre-vote floor discussion of the final proposal some suggestions came from the floor on how the points included could be made more clear; some were implemented. So yes, discussions went down to the wire, but do not attempt to say this was all done in secret and sprung on a collection of the uninformed at the last minute, immediately before they were to leave; that is not the case.
    I will also note that the petition you mentioned was, in short, laughable: only 79 of the 9000 IAU members signed it: most of the people were not scientists with any understanding of the issues (one person is apparently quite unhinged about science, believing some nonsense about viruses originating from Venus and being flown to Earth by the solar wind). Why should the opinions of non-experts for this issue be taken any more seriously than the opinion of non-experts on whether creationism should be given equal footing with evolution? (Hint: they shouldn’t)

  158. #159 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    It is relevant that dwarf stars are stars and that dwarf galaxies are galaxies and that dwarf planets are not planets. Therefore, it is obvious that both of you are being subjective and that this issue is too personal for either of you to present a cogent case against dwarf planets being a subclass of planets. 300, not 79, scientists signed that petition. One of them is David Rabinowitz, a co-discoverer of Eris. Imagine that. How you dream up that I am anti-science is another sign of your delusional behavior. There has been nothing I have written here to suggest I am anti-science. Dream on.

  159. #160 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “It is relevant that dwarf stars are stars and that dwarf galaxies are galaxies and that dwarf planets are not planets”

    No it isn’t.

    One is about stars, and brown dwarfs are “failed stars”.

    The other is about galaxies (and dwarf galaxies are not, strictly speaking, galaxies, just like globular clusters around our galaxy aren’t galaxies either: scale DOES matter).

    And the latter is about planets and Pluto isn’t a planet like Earth, but a dwarf planet like Ceres.

    “it is obvious that both of you are being subjective and that this issue is too personal for either of you to present a cogent case”

    It’s always projection with you idiots, isn’t it?

    Where is YOUR “cogent case”?

    Nowhere.

    “One of them is David Rabinowitz, a co-discoverer of Eris. Imagine that.”

    Yup, that’s easy.

    So what?

    More than 3x as many have no connection with the matter voted on and only after it’s been made are whining. Those who could conceivably claim to have been excluded are less than 1/4 of that pitifully small petition.

    But yet again, rather than have your own ideas, you merely shout “SQUIRREL!” and whine about how you’re being persecuted.

    Diddums.

  160. #161 dean
    November 8, 2013

    300, not 79, scientists signed that petition.

    Perhaps we are referring to two different petitions – possible, but not likely, and if not, the 300 is a false number.

    But, even if you correct: what percentage of (approximately 9000) is 300? Is 300 greater than the number who thought it important enough to vote?

    Side note: Mike Brown, co discoverer of Eris, stated (after joking that if a probe discovered a sign on Pluto that read “I’m a planet” he would change his mind) this:

    But barring that there’s really nothing we could learn about Pluto that would change the fact that we know enough to say that it’s really part of this other population.
    It doesn’t really fit in with the planets; it’s part of this other population. It’s really the size and the mass and its location that makes a difference.

    Since you like spouting out items from authority, consider your latest one cancelled. When asked how he felt about the term “dwarf planet”, he stated (emphasized item by me)

    It’s OK. I don’t like the term “dwarf planet” because it sort of confuses people by having the word “planet” in there. It’s unnecessarily confusing. It makes people say, “Oh, so isn’t it still a planet?” No, it’s not a planet. So I would have preferred a different word, but it’s serviceable, and I am willing to go along.

    Dump the persecution complex: the explanations have been attempts to show that your assertions of “ram-rodding” and other shenanigans don’t hold water. If you choose to ignore the facts about the debate, or the numbers of people who attended versus number who found it important enough to vote, or the fact that “petitions” collect relatively few scientists as opposed to civilians who, for whatever reason, don’t like the change, fine, you don’t have to. If the facts of the case don’t sway you then they don’t: they should let other people know that the way you assert things went down are demonstrably false, and that the level of objection in the scientific world is not as high as you want to make it seem to be.

  161. #162 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    Yellow Dwarf Star. Our sun. Also a star. What is there not to get?

  162. #163 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    Brown Dwarfs. Not Yellow Dwarfs.

    You blind as well as fucking stupid?

  163. #164 Mike Wrathell
    Third Rock from The Yellow Dwarf
    November 8, 2013

    I could care less about your blather about brown dwarfs. I make my points and you make yours. Deal?

  164. #165 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    dean,

    You seem like a nice guy, so I will say this real nice. Quoting Mike Brown doesn’t impress me. The guy told his wife he discovered a planet when he co-discovered Eris. Now he claims he killed Pluto. I could start quoting Stern and Tombaugh and Disney. Did you know Brown publicly beheaded a doll of Disney’s Pluto. He is a buffoon. A pathological narcissist. His book is tripe. Garbage. He never corrects book reviewers who say he discovered Eris or that it’s larger than Pluto. You’d do better to quote Xena the Princess Warrior.

    My allegations of shenanigans, moreover, are water-tight. The vote was hopelessly tainted.

  165. #166 dean
    November 8, 2013

    The point is that trying to make an argument based on comments of “authorities” is not way to make an argument.
    I’m not sure about your “corrects people who say he discovered Eris” – he was on the team that discovered it. Notice, also, that initially it was believed that Eris was larger than Pluto. Current measurements show it to be more massive, and the sizes are so close that the difference, whatever it is, is within the error bars of measurement. That information comes only from data gathered in 2010. We simply do not know, at this point, which is larger.
    The Pluto stuff is foolish showmanship, no doubt about it. I doubt that his book qualifies as garbage
    However,

    My allegations of shenanigans, moreover, are water-tight. The vote was hopelessly tainted.

    indicates an astounding willingness to ignore the facts and history of the vote.,

  166. #167 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    The fact is there are numerous accounts of shenanigans. I’m not just making these accounts up. See Kornfeld posts and take it up with her. Brown should correct the book reviewers and make sure Chad and David get their credit. To not do so is contemptible in the extreme. All 3 are credited on Wikipedia. The book came out and reviews were published long after Eris was downsized. Sicardy’s paper has Pluto as at least 12 km larger than Eris. Mass is a secondary matter. Size matters more. Ask any woman. If not garbage, flotsam and jetsam.

  167. #168 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    When I watched video of the infamous session, I saw a few shenanigans, too. When you are in a position of power and cut someone off in mid-sentence, that qualifies as a shenanigan.

  168. #169 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “Notice, also, that initially it was believed that Eris was larger than Pluto. ”

    And notice that Pluto was supposed to be a damn sight bigger.

  169. #170 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “I could care less about your blather about brown dwarfs.”

    So how much less? A bit? A lot?

    Moreover, when you’re wibbling on insanely about “dwarf stars are stars” and brown dwarfs are *failed* stars, then brown dwarfs is rather pertinent.

    It seems that you will only every deign to note or care for things that support your victimisation seeking.

  170. #171 Wow
    November 8, 2013

    “When you are in a position of power and cut someone off in mid-sentence”

    Someone has never had responsibility for being the chair of a meeting.

  171. #172 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    November 8, 2013

    Along with many adherents of a geophysical planet definition, I do not hold the view that a celestial object has to clear its orbit or even dominate its orbit to be considered a planet. Planet is a broad term referring to non-self-luminous bodies in hydrostatic equilibrium, of which there are many subtypes, including some that don’t orbit any star.

    There should be a streamlining of terminology in astronomy. The term dwarf is used as an adjective modifying a noun in the cases of both galaxies and stars. In the same way, it should be used as an adjective modifying a noun in the case of planets. Dwarf planets are a subclass of planets the same way dwarf stars are a subclass of stars, and dwarf galaxies are a subclass of galaxies. Brown dwarfs are really brown dwarf stars, the low end of the stellar category. They may be failed stars, but at some point, even if it was brief, fusion of hydrogen or deuterium took place in their interiors.

    The person who was strong armed into voting for resolution 5b was a graduate student at the time. It is well known that the academic world has its own issues of politics and bureaucracy. It is unfortunate, but graduate students, post-docs, and even professors who dissent with those in positions of power often are blacklisted and not hired for full time positions and/or not given funding for their projects. This is nothing new.

    Some planets clear their orbits while others do not. According to the geophysical planet definition, not clearing or dominating its orbit does not preclude an object t from being a planet; it just places the object in a different subclass of planets. And the fact that Earth would not clear its orbit if put in Pluto’s location was mathematically determined by a dynamicist who supports the IAU definition, Dr. Hal Levison.

    Many exoplanets do not clear or gravitationally dominate their orbits either, and most of these are giant planets, not small ones. In one case, a giant planet has such an eccentric orbit that it plunges through a belt of asteroids twice in its long orbit around its parent star. This planet and a good many exoplanets would never qualify as planets according to the IAU definition–even if the “requirement” to orbit the Sun was changed to a requirement to orbit a star.

    Pluto is a part of more than one population. It’s not an either/or. It is part of the planet population because it is a complex world with geology and weather that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity. At the same time, it is the largest member of a population of much smaller trans-Neptunian objects (though the latter are mostly icy, and Pluto is estimated to be 70 percent rock). To overlook Pluto’s planetary qualities and lump it solely with a group of tiny iceballs is misleading and bad science.

    Pluto is not tidally locked with Neptune. It is tidally locked with Charon, its giant moon, with both orbiting a common barycenter outside of Pluto; this is why some astronomers consider Pluto-Charon a binary planet system with four moons. Pluto’s orbit is in a two to three resonance with Neptune, meaning Pluto orbits the Sun twice for every three times Neptune orbits the Sun. That is not the same thing as being tidally locked.

    Earth and Pluto have far more similarities beyond their both orbiting the Sun. Both worlds are rocky; both have geology and weather; both are geologically differentiated into core, mantle, and crust; both have nitrogen in their atmospheres, and both have big moons formed via giant impacts. In fact, Earth has a lot more in common with Pluto than it does with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

    Many professional astronomers are not members of the IAU, having chosen not to join. That does not make them any less credible. The IAU has about 10,000 members; 2,500 attended the start of the 2006 General Assembly, and 424 remained for the vote. Most of those 424 were not experts in planetary science but in completely different areas of astronomy.

    You said, “Weird. Ever think of doing that yourself?” Doing what?

    This is not about a vote that didn’t go someone’s way. It is about a highly flawed definition recognized as such by many astronomers and the need to come up with something better that reflects the reality of what is really out there, and that is billions of planets.
    At the Great Planet Debate, astronomers who were present in Prague reported personal experiences of the shenanigans Mike talks about. Most astronomers do not attend the entire two weeks of the General Assembly, and many had already made airline reservations they could not change without having to spend a lot more money. Of course, they had no way of knowing the IAU would violate its own bylaws and instead of voting on the definition put forward by its own committee, would vote on a hastily thrown together alternate resolution instead. That resolution was literally put together the night before the vote; it was not debated for 10 days.

  172. #173 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    Wow. Now that’s a good post. My only criticism is that the word “numbnuts” wasn’t in it…..

  173. #174 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 8, 2013

    I have not mentioned brown dwarfs. You must be getting posters confused, dude. I have only mentioned yellow dwarfs when it comes to stars, viz., our sun.

  174. #175 StevoR
    November 8, 2013

    @109. Wow (November 6, 2013)

    “1) Why do you (“Wow”) think Pluto is NOT a planet precisely?”
    Because it doesn’t meet the requirements for a planet, you fucking idiot.

    Yes it does, asswipe.

    Pluto meets all the criteria for planet that a reasonable and logical. The IAU’s “orbital clearance” idea is neither logical nor reasonable for all the reasons I’ve stated repeatedly here starting with my first comment – # 30.

    ““2) Did you read the links I’ve provided for you and try answering Croswell’s Pluto questions? How did you do and what do you think of them?”
    No.

    Further confirmation that you are a troll who is only here to annoy people and arguing in bad faith. Not that there’s been any doubt about that for a long time.

    Have a look at those links I provided tothe ken Croswell articles and his Pluto questions in comments 33, 34, 37 and think about the implications.

    Here’s an extra bonus one for you as well :

    http://kencroswell.com/HD45364.html

    But you are too gutless and pathetic to even look at information and ideas you disagree with and argue honestly but then that’s not what you’re here for it is it, bro?.

    “3) Do you you think that having enough things that are X together suddenly somehow makes X into not-X? ”
    Yes.

    Bzzt. Wrong answer. Do you fail to realise you stupid you sound with that Wow?

    Humans don’t stop being humans when they gather in a crowd. Animals don’t stop being animals when they gather in herds and flocks and packs and plants don’t stop being plants when they’re found crowded together in the jungle.

    Equally, in exactly the same way planets don’t stop being planets when they’re close together and have unclear or crossed orbits. Saying otherwise is just plain dumb.

    You really are a moron, Wow.

    I’ll just note once again the complete lack of substance and any supporting evidence or logic to your “arguments” here, Wow you troll.

  175. #176 StevoR
    November 9, 2013

    @156. Wow (November 8, 2013) :

    “If Earth being tidally locked by Neptune and Neptune orbit crossing, then, yes, Earth would not be a planet.
    Why is this a problem for you?”

    Because it fails the Reductio ad absurdum test of logic. It is an absurd statement and consequence that shows the current IAU definition is, frankly, silly.

    “However, if the Earth were at Pluto’s distance and retained the “cleared its orbit”, which is true for Earth in its orbit, then it would be a planet because it has cleared its orbit of perturbating (sic) influences on its trajectory.”

    Your lack of comprehension and outright ignorance is revealed again Wow. Earth’s orbit is perturbed all the time and is affected by the other planets and even, albeit very slightly, by spacecraft gaining gravity boosts such as the recent fly-by of the Juno spaceprobe on its way to Jupiter. Unperburbed orbits has never been part of the definition of planet.

    The current erroneous IAU definition insists on supposedly “clear” orbits which then raises – superfluously and in violation of Occams razor – the questions of how clear and for how long? No planetary orbit is ever completely clear especially over a long enough timeframe showing again how ridiculous the present IAU definition is and why it needs to be scrapped and replaced with a better one ASAP.

    @171 Wow : “Someone has never had responsibility for being the chair of a meeting.”

    That “someone” sounds like you – I very much doubt you’ve ever had that role, troll. Not that its relevant anyhow.

    It doesn’t require chairing any meetings for people to tell bad manners and dodgy shenanigans when they see ‘em.

    @170. Wow : “Moreover, when you’re wibbling on insanely about “dwarf stars are stars” and brown dwarfs are *failed* stars, then brown dwarfs is rather pertinent.

    FYI. Brown dwarfs are actually given stellar classes L,T & Y and count as stars. Dwarf stars just like yellow dwarfs, blue dwarfs and white dwarfs among others. Brown dwarfs are in a sub-category of their own,yes, but then so too are stellar remnants like neutron stars too.

    Gas giant planets include superjovians up to the brown dwarf mass limit. The ad hominem “insanity” is all yours.

    “It seems that you will only every deign to note or care for things that support your victimisation seeking.”

    Wow, what a hypocrite! You’ve admitted not even looking at the links I provided to articles and questions that would make you’re think your position on this showing you are arguing in bad faith and then you have the hypocrisy to come spout this? Wow indeed.

  176. #177 StevoR
    November 9, 2013

    ^ Typo fix. Penultimate line should read :

    “You’ve (Wow – ed) admitted not even looking at the links I provided to articles and questions that would make you rethink your position on this showing you are arguing in bad faith and then you have the hypocrisy to come spout this?”

    @169. Wow

    “Notice, also, that initially it was believed that Eris was larger than Pluto. ”
    And notice that Pluto was supposed to be a damn sight bigger.”

    Since Pluto and Eris are *both* planets this is about as relevant as noting that Uranus is physically larger – though less massive than – Neptune. Clearly Pluto and Eris are almost equal in size but it doesn’t stop either body from being planetary in nature.

    As a matter of fact, given their large numbers the average planet is around the size of Pluto just as the average star is a red dwarf around the size of Barnard’s star.

    @157. Wow : “Dean, I wonder if this isn’t merely another anti-science person finding SOMETHING to claim that scientists (who exist in ivory towers and are not *really* human) are evil scum of the earth, declaring everyone else has to bow to their edicts. You know, same as the whine about “LHC could DESTROY THE EARTH!!!!!!”.

    Your typical troll tactic of trying to derail the debate by changing subjects and baselessly insulting other commenters – adding the fallacy of attributing motives /casting calumnous aspersions to your long list of errors here – when you’re clearly losing the intellectual argument is duly noted.

    @172. Laurel Kornfeld : Excellent comment there. Very well said and seconded by me.

  177. #178 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    “admitted not even looking at the links I provided to articles and questions that would make you rethink your position ”

    Nope, you’re assuming they would.

    However, if their argument were so persuasive, you’d be able to explain them here.

    You haven’t.

    The arguments presented here have been asinine, illogical, petulant, childish and repetitive.

    If you can’t explain the “argument” that so convinced you, then you can’t have understood it, can you?

  178. #179 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    @171 Wow : “Someone has never had responsibilit”y for being the chair of a meeting.”

    That “someone” sounds like you – I very much doubt you’ve ever had that role, troll. Not that its relevant anyhow. ”

    Nope, I’ve had to chair a meeting and if there are timewasters you HAVE to keep to schedule.

    Apparently you’re unable to actually think, Steve. At least not if you can muddy waters and avoid having any actual content to your emissions.

  179. #180 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    “I have not mentioned brown dwarfs. ”

    Never said you did, mikey.

    I did.

    I said I did.

  180. #181 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    ““1) Why do you (“Wow”) think Pluto is NOT a planet precisely?”
    Because it doesn’t meet the requirements for a planet, you fucking idiot.

    Yes it does, asswipe. ”

    No it doesn’t, shithead.

    It hasn’t cleared its orbit.

    Ergo: not a planet.

  181. #182 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    “Since Pluto and Eris are *both* planets ”

    They are not.

  182. #183 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    Typos, Steve?

    The problem doesn’t appear to be your fingers but your brain.

  183. #184 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    in 33:

    “providing his alternative definition and argument because I think its well worth reading and contemplating in this context.”

    And I have no reason to believe that your feelings on this carry ANY WEIGHT WHATSOEVER.

    Furthermore, the definition of planet doesn’t consider the distance between orbits, so your “oh, they’re so very far apart from each other!!!” is a waste of ones and zeros.

  184. #185 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    re:34

    “Plus Ken Croswell asks a couple of great thought-provoking questions on his site which I’d also like to link here if this is okay ”

    Ask them yourself.

  185. #186 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    #37 has nothing at all about definitions of plants.

    So, A THIRD TIME your whining complaints about “Answer my questions!!!!” has been done.

    Never bothered to thank me for doing as you demand, do you, steve?

  186. #187 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    “As a matter of fact, given their large numbers the average planet is around the size of Pluto ”

    And as a matter of fact, given that humans are alive and bacteria are alive, but vastly more common, the average size of a human is a few microns across!

  187. #188 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    Wow,

    One could easily accuse you of being childish and petulant. You have called people names like idiot, moron, and numbnuts. You refuse to look at links, accuse people of shilling if they mention a book. Very petulant and unpleasant. If you want to be taken seriously as a scientist or whatever it is you are, you should take heed of my observations. There is, of course, the old adage, “It takes one to know one.” If your nuts are numb, dude, I suggest you see a urologist.

  188. #189 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    Yeah, It’s easy to do it. Just type it and you’re done.

    However, making anything of it is rather more difficult.

    If you can’t say what it is in that link that constitutes your argument, then you’re not actually making any argument, are you.

  189. #190 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    I see your point. Links are best as a supplement.

  190. #191 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    Still 100% complete absence of the argument that you think so persuasive.

  191. #192 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    Wow,

    Geophysical definition of a planet, dude. Dwarf planet don’t have to gravitationally dominate their orbits. The have crust, mantle, and core and hydrostatic equilibrium. As worthy a subclass as terrestrials and jovians. You know it, too. You just like being difficult.

  192. #193 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    “Geophysical definition of a planet, dude”

    Meaning what?

    I have read the IAU definition.

    A Planet requires clearing its orbit, be large enough to be round and orbit a star.

    Pluto isn’t a planet.

  193. #194 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    I’m taking the other, equally-valid definition. The one that in Honolulu or Vienna will overthrow the rancid one.

  194. #195 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    Talking, rather….

  195. #196 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    “I’m taking the other, equally-valid definition”

    No, you’re talking about the wrong definition.

    You need to

    a) describe that definition
    b) show it is better than the current one

    This is science. You don’t just throw away Maxwell’s Equations because you don’t like them, you ONLY throw them away when you have a BETTER set of equations.

    “l overthrow the rancid one.”

    And yet again, you with your vitriolic and empty rhetoric, even after whining pointlessly, yet so very tediously, over anyone else slagging you off for your complete asshattery here, never even glimpses above the parapet of your ignorance.

  196. #197 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    PS if the current IAU definition is “rancid” and had to be “ramrodded” then doesnt it make whatever vapid version you’re wilbbling on about now also rancid and ramrodded?

    After all, you’ve called it “equally valid”. To a definition you think is invalid.

    Not even you think that this “other definition” works..!

  197. #198 dean
    November 9, 2013

    I am still befuddled as to what makes this such a hot button issue for the pro-Pluto group. As has been noted (and can be seen from the discussions at the conference) there were no shenanigans. The fact that only 400-ish of the people still there found it an important enough issue to vote on shows it was not a big deal for the attendees – if the rest had been rabidly against it they had the numbers to vote it down: that didn’t happen. The “petitions” to overturn it found very few real scientists signing on: opinions of non-scientists are opinions but irrelevant to the science.
    Screaming and saying the current definition is wrong because you say it is wrong is childish.

    Could it change some day? Certainly, if new information is brought to light or the pro-Pluto group (there has to be a better name for that) can make a better case. Empty assertions of intimidation and threats are not a better case.

  198. #199 dean
    November 9, 2013

    I could not have written a more confusing final sentence in #198 had I tried. I meant to phrase it along the lines of
    “Empty assertions that the vote included intimidation of, and threats to, attendees as well as voters are not a better case.”

  199. #200 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    Dude,

    Stern coined the term “dwarf planet,” so, of course, it should be used as a subclass of planet, as he intended. So, yes, the geophysical def is better than the IAU one in my book. Dude, if you invented a term, such as “asshat,” which is, admittedly, a wonderfully-creative slur, and some fucktard misused it and the misuse became more popular than your intended usage, I would probably make it a point to call a few asshats and asshat now and then out of homage to you. Now would an asshat do that?

    If a definition is rancid, it is not necesarily ramrodded, but, of course, in this case both apply. I was being polite when I said “equally valid.”

    Capeesh?

    As far as me having to “prove” things when I comment on this blog, that is not a correct understanding of the nature of a comment. Do you see where it says “Submit Comment” ???????

  200. #201 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    dean

    There is. We are Pluto huggers, dude.

  201. #202 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    dean,

    If a shenanigan bit you in the ass, would you think it was a spider?

  202. #203 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    dean,

    If a shenanigan bit you in the posterior, would you think it was a spider? Just because you say there were no shenanigans repeatedly, does not make the accounts disappear from the annals of history.

  203. #204 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    dean,

    I agree that the shenanigan accounts are an entirely different beast than the case for a better definition of a planet. I don’t agree that the accounts are empty. How do you know they are empty? I know the person who said he was threatened. Are you sure he is a liar? What if I called you a liar? How do you know a person you never met is a liar? Why is it so important to you to discredit this person without any investigation? Not very scientific, dean. Pure subjectivity, in fact.

  204. #205 dean
    November 9, 2013

    Mike, anecdotes are not evidence: perceptions are not evidence. I believe you are smart enough to realize that.

  205. #206 dean
    November 9, 2013

    We are Pluto huggers

    Tongue in cheek aside, this seems (to me) to be a step backwards from “pro-Pluto”.

    I started today hiking a new (to me) nature area with camera, processing the shots, spend the afternoon grading, and am working on my second 4 fingers of Scotch, so my opinion on names may be slightly impaired.

  206. #207 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    Cheers! We have embraced “Pluto huggers.” I know its original intention was derisive, but it’s actually cool. I know it’s pretty informal and colloquial, but it works and has stood the test if time. It’s also in the Urban Dictionary.

    I am a lawyer, besides an artist and writer. A firsthand account is evidence in a court of law. I saw his personal account of the incident in Prague. A judge would allow him to testify and his testimony would be considered evidence. I am just telling you what he said. We are not conducting a trial here.

  207. #208 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    Stern didn’t invent the term.

    And being a dwarf planet excludes pluto from being a planet just as it does for asteroids.

  208. #209 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    “A firsthand account is evidence in a court of law.”

    Then take it up in a court of law, moron.

    However, this is science, where you do not get to decide what “truth” is by arguing with every trick to get your own way.

    We do things differently.

  209. #210 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 9, 2013

    I heard Stern did. Take it up with Laurel.

    I know this is science. I was just making a comment. As far as who the moron is, that is self-evident, given your consistant penchant for hurling slurs and insults at people. No wonder you don’t give out your real name. You are a coward hiding behind your little fake name. Moreover, you are not much of a scientist, if that is what you are holding yourself out to be. You are just playing devil’s advocate and trying to put whatever people say in the worst possible light. That is also a trick. I am not the one playing games. You are. You are boring and dull, dude. Stop wasting space.

  210. #211 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    The Prague shenanigans of August 24 were not science. They were a blatant exhibition of ramrodding at its most rancid. No wonder 300 distinguished scientists protested in said petition. Take it up with them.

  211. #212 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    Pluto is a planet. Size and orbit are ancillary matters worthy of note, but not exclusionary in nature.

  212. #213 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    The way you said “we” implies you speak for the scientific community at large. Something tells me your mouth is outrunning your actual status within said community. However, if the IAU needs a good parrot, I’ll put a good word in for you.

  213. #214 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “The way you said “we” implies you speak for the scientific community at large”

    Speaking on behalf of their expressed intent is absolutely 100% fine unless you’re an anti-science moron, where every opinion is just as valid as any other arsehole’s.

  214. #215 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “I heard Stern did. Take it up with Laurel.”

    Nope, I’m taking it up with you.

    YOU stated it. If YOU didn’t know whether it was right, why did YOU parrot it? Why did YOU think it true?

    If you merely parrot what others say (and pretend that you think it valid) why the hell are you even on here? Just let those who actually HAVE opinion state them.

  215. #216 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “Pluto is a planet.”

    Pluto is not a planet.

    “Size and orbit are ancillary matters worthy of note, but not exclusionary in nature.”

    It has to be big enough to reach hydrostatic equilibrium (i.e. be round) and has to have cleared its orbit.

    Even though you discard the last thing, you USED to agree that its size was important. Now, when convenient, you pretend it is unimportant.

    You must be a REALLY SHIT lawyer.

  216. #217 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “The Prague shenanigans of August 24 were not science.”

    Maybe not, but nobody knows what the hell you’re on about here.

    Meanwhile the IAU definition was science.

  217. #218 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    You are a waste of my time.

  218. #219 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    You are the parrot of the IAU. That’s worse than being Laurel’s parrot. She’s not a rancid ramrodder at least.

    Pluto has achieved hydrostatic equilibrium. What planet are you on. Stop parroting the absurd definition. You are boring me.

    Size is important in that I want Pluto to be bigger than Eris because it will piss off Mike Brown. Sicardy’s paper strongly suggests it it. However, both qualify as planets, but for the third rung of your belovedly rancid definition.

    I’m not anti-science. I’m anti-ramrodding. I’m also anti-fucktard. That seems to be you. But maybe you are just playing one on this blog.

  219. #220 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    I mostly want Pluto to remain larger than Eris and all other KBOs because Pluto is awesome. Mike Brown sort of ruined Eris for me, but at least they didn’t keep his stupid name for it.

  220. #221 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    My long comment to you, Wow, is awaiting moderation because I threw a cuss word at you.

    Anyway, I think I said I may be Laurel’s parrot, but it is better than being the parrot of the IAU, an organization that likes to ramrod its members.

    I have the right to comment here. I do not have to prove to you that Stern coined the term dwarf planet. That is what I heard. You are a moron if you think I have to prove he coined it.

    I suppose I have to prove the Earth is not flat, for you, too, if I say that the Earth is round?

    It is hard to believe you are in the scientific community. You behave like a real cad. You and Mike Brown are an embarrassement to the scientific community.

    As far as me being a shit lawyer, who said I wanted to be the next Perry Mason? I can be a shit lawyer if I want to be a shit lawyer. Not that I am, but I might be. Maybe I did not go to law school to even practice law. That is my business and not yours.

    Also, it is cretinous of you to use the little personal information I just disclosed against me. Stick to the issues. I know that was the reason you wanted to hear personal anecdotes, too, so you could belittle me based on personal information gleaned from them. You have no class, dude.

    Why don’t you contemplate being a man someday, instead of a punk-ass troll|?

  221. #222 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    Size does not matter as far as hydrostatic equilibrium is achieved in regards to planethood. The only reason I mentioned the size of Pluto is that that was what originallly inspired the IAU to demote Pluto in that Eris’s size was inflated by Mike Brown so he could wallow in his pathological narcissism. As you probably know, he at first considered it a planet, too. Sicardy’s paper suggests Pluto is at least 12 km larger. I am very glad of that, but it has nothing to do with the definiton of a planet, or dwarf planet. I am glad for other reasons.

  222. #223 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “Size does not matter as far as hydrostatic equilibrium is achieved in regards to planethood. ”

    Yes it does. Too light: not enough gravity to move things into a round shape. Shit, are you REALLY sitting on here being THIS dumb in public?

  223. #224 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “You are a waste of my time.”

    You are a waste of your own time. THAT was a waste of your own time.

    “You are the parrot of the IAU.”

    Squark!

    Of course, you’re a parrot of fuck all, aren’t you, mikey?

    I guess you whine at teacher for teaching you what the word “size” means by telling her “You’re a parrot for the OED!” and thing you won, eh?

    “I mostly want Pluto to remain larger than Eris and all other KBOs because Pluto is awesome.”

    Yup, fuck all science or even reason for it.

    YOU JUST WANNA PLUTO!!!!

  224. #225 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “I have the right to comment here. I do not have to prove to you that Stern coined the term dwarf planet. That is what I heard. ”

    You do have to prove it for it to be of any point whatsoever.

    Do you know what “proof” means and why *evidence”* is so very important, EVEN TO SHYSTER LAWYERS who are frankly as shit at it as you appear to be?

    How unsuccessful must you be if you’re in court and say something in defence of a client and when brought up by the counsel for prosecution that it is not proven: “Well, that’s what I heard, so there!”.

  225. #226 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    Wow,

    I said as long as hydrostatic equilibrium is achieved, size does not matter. Of course, a certain size is necessary. Ceres and Eris are smaller than Pluto and have it, so it is not an issue at all in the case of Pluto. You just need to bark at everything I say, is that it?

    Why are you harping on about everything. It hurts your credibility. This is not a court of law. In court, yes, you call witnesses. I am not going to subpeona Dr. Stern so you can call him names here. Laurel says he coined the term. That is good enough for me. Whether that gets your panties in a bunch that I am repeating that is not my problem. Frankly, even if he didn’t think dwarf planets should be a subclass of planets like the terrestrials and the jovians, I would, but he does. So should you, but you are obsessed with being a kowtowing parrot of the IAU. I realize you are incapable of breaking from the precious mother teat of the IAU. Whatever floats your boat, dude.

    I am not out to prove to you anything. Obviously, you are impervious to Pluto huggery. Frankly, we don’t want you on our side. You help us more by being on the other side.

    Just because I appreciate the awesomeness of Pluto doesn’t mean I’m unreasonable. It really is pathetic the way I can make you jump like a trained dog. I knew you would bark at that one. So what if I think Pluto is awesome? Get a life, dude. Find something you think is awesome. It is better way to use your time than to belittle others.

  226. #227 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “I said as long as hydrostatic equilibrium is achieved, size does not matter.”

    And since you need size to GET hydrostatic equilibrium, size DOES matter.

    “Ceres and Eris are smaller than Pluto and have it, so it is not an issue at all in the case of Pluto.”

    And none of those three are planets.

  227. #228 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “Laurel says he coined the term. That is good enough for me.”

    And some dude said they would lose their job if Pluto wasn’t a planet and that was enough for you.

    However, IAU saying that it isn’t a planet isn;t enough for you.

    Why?

    Because you’ll ONLY accept people who support your point of view that Pluto must be special pled into remaining a planet and not accept the word of ANYONE who doesn’t think that’s correct.

    Therefore your acceptance of what they said is irrelevant. It has no validity. It is not even wrong.

    Because all you’re doing is accepting someone who said something as being proof Pluto is a planet.

    And your only “reason” for it is you are excited by Pluto but not Eris.

    Well, your fantasies and preferences are not going to be ramrodded down the throats of everyone else on the planet. Sucks for you, but you’re not god.

  228. #229 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “This is not a court of law”

    It is.

    You’re trying to convince the jury of your accusations.

    The standard of evidence is just as high and you’re flunking it deliberately because you KNOW you’re talking shit.

    Treat your case for the IAU definition for being wrong as if it were a court case.

    And would you get away with hearsay evidence?

    NO.

    So don’t fucking try it on here, shithead, ‘cos you’re trying to prove your case as if we’re all a bunch of clueless morons and it’s failing.

  229. #230 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    You’re not?

  230. #231 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    You are.

  231. #232 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    I am not going to treat the comment board as if it was a court of law. I have made a few comments. Take them or leave them. The case for Pluto and the other dwarf planets being a subclass of planets is sound. The case was not allowed to be made in Prague. The other side ramrodded the exclusionary definition down the throats of the members. This is how the railroad companies behaved in the Old American West. If someone didn’t want to sell their land to the railroad barons, the barons would find a way to get their land by hook or by crook. I see no difference here, yet you call it science. You are delusional. The accounts of the shenangans in Prague are disturbing. Yet, because the vote fell your way, you call the shenanigans science, or fictional, or say I have to prove them or they should not be mentioned at all. Whatever, dude. You are just being a bore. The fact is the definition sucks. It if didn’t suck, it wouldn’t have had to be ramrodded on the last day of the GA. But it sucked hard, dude. Very hard did it and does it suck. And it will go down in flames. Maybe in Honolulu. Maybe in Vienna. But it will go down in flames someday, and do you know why? Because it sucks. And the way it was ramrodded sucked, too, of course. Can I prove that someone in Prague was threatened? Sure, if I subpeoned him and convinced a jury of his veracity; but that is not the nature of internet blog comment boards, nor should it be. Your demands of me are unreasonable and troll-like.

    I am cutting you some slack, because you are a rather intelligent troll, and I like to swear, too.

    As to your statement that I do not question as hard that which helps the case for Pluto’s planethood as that which hurts the case for Pluto’s planethood, that may be. I try to call a spade a spade though. What if someone you knew said they were raped? Would you tell them to prove it? Would you be concerned, disturbed, or would you blow it off? I think you are such a lackey of the IAU that they can do no wrong in your book. You are not disturbed by any of the alleged shenanigans. You have maligned me for mentioning the accounts of them, in fact. You are a classic bully. You might want to look at inside yourself someday and realize what sort of image you are presenting to the world here. It is really ugly and unpleasant. It is a scary thought that you have actually chaired meetings. Wow.

  232. #233 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    “I am not going to treat the comment board as if it was a court of law.”

    Therefore you’re not going to change your way and try and prove any of your accusations.

    Fair enough.

    So in the same spirit:

    You’re full of shit, kid.

    Pluto is not a planet, the IAU’s decision was democratic and you’re a complete fraud.

  233. #234 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    You wish.

  234. #235 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    You moron.

  235. #236 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    The IAU has no respect for a truly democratic vote. Is “moron” your favorite word? If you are a scientist, maybe you should find a new favorite word. Maybe “methane.”

  236. #237 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    The IAU held a democratic vote.

    You just hate the result.

  237. #238 Wow
    November 10, 2013

    You wish.

  238. #239 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    I hate injustice. If they’d followed their own rules, I wouldn’t be able to bitch.

  239. #240 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    I hate injustice. If they’d oh followed their own rules, it’d be harder for me to bitch, which, admittedly, is my wont.

  240. #241 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 10, 2013

    Dude, the IAU is not the tooth fairy. It can, and it will, and it has, done wrong. Grow up and stop demonizing anyone who speaks ill against the mother teat.

  241. #242 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 11, 2013

    You methane.

  242. #243 Wow
    November 11, 2013

    Still pegging 0% on argument, 100% on moronic, Mikey?

    Well done.

    Keep up the bad work, there’s an internet Galileo prize for you if you manage to keep it up!

  243. #244 Wow
    November 11, 2013

    You hate injustice therefore invent it because the world isn’t doing what you demand, therefore THAT’S UNFAIR!!!!

    And the IAU is not a tooth fairy, only you’ve said it. Again with the moron?

    Pluto is not a planet.

  244. #245 Wow
    November 11, 2013

    “If they’d followed their own rules,”

    They did.

    ” I wouldn’t be able to bitch.”

    You aren’t capable, but you still do, dear.

  245. #246 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 11, 2013

    I thought there was only one tooth fairy. I guess you know better than me, methane.

  246. #247 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 11, 2013

    Show me where strong-arming is in the rule book, methane.

  247. #248 Wow
    November 11, 2013

    Show me where strong-arming happened, retard.

  248. #249 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 11, 2013

    Prague, methane. Pay attention!

  249. #250 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 11, 2013

    Your tooth fairies distracting you?

  250. #251 Wow
    November 11, 2013

    Prague is not strongarming.

    Are you drunk or just stupid?

  251. #252 Wow
    November 11, 2013

    This is Prague:

    http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-191501726-prague_vacations-i

    And this is strongarming:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/strong-arming

    One is a geographical location (noun), the other is an adjective

  252. #253 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 11, 2013

    You said where, methane. It’s not my place to tell the tale. You wouldn’t believe a firsthand account, anyway. The mother teat can do no wrong.

  253. #254 Wow
    November 11, 2013

    Don’t you know what the words mean, shithead?

  254. #255 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 11, 2013

    Didn’t the mother teat teach you that if you have nothing nice to say (and in your case nothing whatsoever to say) then say nothing at all? I can see you are one of those boring, narcissitic types that always has to have the last word. You must be a riot to hang out with. You probably mouth off to the cops, too? Ever get a nice beatdown?

  255. #256 Wow
    November 11, 2013

    Still completely empty of anything approaching an attempt at a reason for your position, Mikey.

    I guess you’ve never really had anything to your whine, just “I WANNA PLUTO!!!”.

  256. #257 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 11, 2013

    I’m tired of arguing with a cad.

  257. #258 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 12, 2013

    The reasons for Pluto’s planethood are copious and notorious. You just want to wield your abusive, obnoxious, and sophomoric personality some more. See you in Honolulu, Trixie.

  258. #259 Wow
    November 12, 2013

    “The reasons for Pluto’s planethood are copious and notorious.”

    By which you mean “Nonexistent and vapid”.

    NOT A SINGLE REASON has been given on this thread.

    NOT ONE that hasn’t been “But they were MEAN!”.

  259. #260 Wow
    November 12, 2013

    Pluto: Not a planet, any more than the asteroids are, or Comets, or meteorites.

  260. #261 Wow
    November 12, 2013

    And note: even the “But they’re MEAN” has been nothing other than assertion.

    15th Aug, the draft proposal. Several reviews and plenty of consultation and on the 24th the vote taken.

    Out of those who bothered enough on the subject to vote voted for the IAU definition.

    The vetting process was “Anyone in the IAU who signed up to go to the discussion” which was valid.

    The voting process was “Anyone who signed up to the discussion could vote” which was valid.

    There is no shenanigans, no strong-arming, no ramming down of throats in any of this. Just a decision that the arsehole of humanity who don’t even know what the planets ARE (see “As far as Pluto being locked to Neptune, I will have to check up on that. I know Pluto and Charon are tidally locked. I do not pretend to know everything.” including the HILARIOUS “I do not pretend to know everything” schtick where mikey pretends to know what shenanigans went on based on some links that he posts but never explains what’s said in them), for how clueless but how strident these fuckwits are).

    “Oh, read this book, it has a good account of the problem!”. Except that the only thing mentioned is how the non-astronomers don’t like change and that changing things in the face of evidence with morons used to the certitude of religion produces suspicion in science. I.e. FUCK ALL about how Pluto must remain a planet.

    “This link has an alternative and better definition” when said about a link that contains no such definition.

    “This link has a couple of reasons why Pluto must remain a planet” that then goes on about how things are not visible at Pluto distances to the human eye, WHICH IS NOT A DEFINITION OF PLANET. Moreover, never says why this definition should include “can be seen by the naked eye” or why it’s otherwise relevant.

    No, it’s all bluff and bluster hiding a mulish and childish whine of “I WAS TAUGHT IT AND I WILL NOT BE WRONG!!! I WANNA PLUTO!!!!!!!!”

  261. #262 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 12, 2013

    Plenty of reasons throughout the thread, methane. See Laurel’s posts, for example, methane.

  262. #263 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 12, 2013

    I am sorry about the closed head injury.

  263. #264 Wow
    November 12, 2013

    Are you? So someone not accepting complete and utter unsubstantiated hearsay bullshit is “closed minded”.

    Xtian fundies use the same “You must be open minded like me!” to make insistence that their vapid shit must be given consideration as factual.

    But you’d still prefer to fake concern rather than actually explain anything on your arguments for Pluto’s planethood, preferring to whine and bitch and make out it’s everyone else who is wrong.

    And then pretend fake concern.

    A straight-up passive-aggressive move.

    And doesn’t work, chump.

  264. #265 Wow
    November 12, 2013

    “Plenty of reasons throughout the thread”

    No, only claims. Nothing substantiated you fathead shitstain ragbastard.

    “Prague”.

    Nope.

    “Man may lose his job!”.

    No he won’t.

    “The IAU got it wrong!”

    But you can’t say how.

  265. #266 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 12, 2013

    Oh, methane…..that was a joke about you having brain damage for not having enough reading comprehension to know that reasons for Pluto’s planethood populate this blog’s comment thread in abundance. I must remember you are humor-impaired. Not sure why, but that is pretty obvious, unless, perhaps, you are making the joke.

    Reasons for Pluto being a planet are, to name a few quickly, as I refuse to waste my entire life with you……geophysical def just as valid…..Pluto has all the tangible markings of a planet….core, mantle, and crust…..

    Earth would not meet the def if as far out as Pluto, thus the 3rd rung of current IAU def is absurd. The further from the Sun, the larger a planet must be.

    A reason to reopen the debate is the widely-reported taint of the vote in Prague, including the strong-arming of a voting member by another member who had leverage on him, the lack of notice or vetting of the new def that was changed the night before to demote Pluto, etc.

    You just wanna Eris, methane. You are the one whining here and calling me and Steve names. Your behavior is childish and contemptible. You are a waste of my time. I am not going to pretend I am speaking with a rational person. Your ad hominem attacks and obvious infatutation with the mother teat of the IAU show you to be unworthy of my time.

    The defintion you love so much sucks. It will be changed. What will you do then? Blow your brains out?

  266. #267 Wow
    November 12, 2013

    No, a joke has to be funny. Or at least an intent to be so.

    Seems like “vote” is not the only thing you don’t understand what it is.

    * geophysical def just as valid…

    Does not make the IPCC definition invalid. But you’re not even saying what your definition IS, so fails twice.

    * Pluto has all the tangible markings of a planet….core, mantle, and crust…..

    Hasn’t cleared its orbit, which is another required tangible characteristic of a planet.

    * Earth would not meet the def if as far out as Pluto

    The distance out from the Sun is NOT a characteristic required of a planet, moron.

    * The further from the Sun, the larger a planet must be.

    NO IT DOES NOT.

    * A reason to reopen the debate is the widely-reported taint of the vote in Prague

    BULLSHIT.

    * the strong-arming of a voting member by another member who had leverage on him

    No such strong-arming happened.

    * the lack of notice

    10 days notice is a “lack of notice”???

    * or vetting of the new def that was changed the night before to demote Pluto

    1) No, it was vetted and put forward and amended over 10 days before the vote in an ongoing process of getting a useful definition.

    2) The changes were NOT made to demote Pluto the day before since the version 10 days earlier would demote Pluto too.

    You seem to have the fantasy story of what happened. Fuck knows where you get it from.

    * You just wanna Eris

    Lame.

    And no, Eris isn’t a planet either. I have no problem with it.

    * You are the one whining here

    Yeah, I’ve already seen how divorced from reality you are, fuckwit. And this isn’t a reason for Pluto’s planetary status.

    * The defintion you love so much sucks.

    For reasons you’ve completely made up.

    But in REAL life, it’s fine. You just hate it. Cos “I WANNA PLUTO!!!!”.

    * It will be changed.

    No it won’t.

    * What will you do then?

    Accept the definition. Unlike you, whining and shitting and pissing all over the place because you’re not getting your own way.

  267. #268 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 12, 2013

    My joke was funny. It was just over your head. I can crack a joke with the best of them, Pierre.

    I said what the geophysical def is. Core, mantle, crust, hydrostatic equilibrium. Talk to you is like talking to a baby. Goo goo gaa gaa.

    The distance out is relevant because the further out you go, the larger you must be to clear your orbit. Get it now, methane? I do not want to have to explain things to you more than once. This has gone on far too long already.

    There is one person who said he was strong-armed. What proof do you have that he was not? None. What if your mother told you she was raped? Would you be equally dismissive without any investigation? You really should consider not being a lackey of the IAU. It is really pathetic.

    I got the story from Laurel. Take it up with her. She said it was changed on the night before the vote. I assume she did some research on it. It is pretty obvious that the entire new def was made to specifically exclude Pluto. It is equally obvious from watching the rancidly ramrodded vote that Bell hates Pluto with every fiber of her being. She is about as objective regarding Pluto as a pitbull is to a feral cat.

    I am one with the cosmos. You are the one divorced from reality if you think your behavior on this blog is not making you look like a complete douchenozzle.

    I look forward to you acceping Pluto back into the family of planets. In the meantime, I bid you adieu, methane.

  268. #269 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    No, it wasn’t funny, moron.

    “I said what the geophysical def is. Core, mantle, crust, hydrostatic equilibrium.”

    So our Moon is a planet?

    Really?

    “The distance out is relevant because the further out you go, the larger you must be to clear your orbit.”

    No you don’t.

    It’s not even in the IAU spec which I guess you don’t know anything about other than it doesn’t let Pluto be a planet. Look here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ThePlanetDefinition3.png

    Distance isn’t in it.

    “There is one person who said he was strong-armed.”

    And accusation is not proof.

    “I got the story from Laurel. Take it up with her.”

    You keep bringing it up, I’m taking it up with you. If you don’t know why, then it is not something you can use in your argument.

    I’m taking it up with you. You accept it SOLELY because it supports your whining tantrums about Pluto.

    “I am one with the cosmos.”

    And you’re a fuckwit.

  269. #270 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    PS whilst the definition of a planet excludes Pluto, why not STFU until it’s changed, hmm?

  270. #271 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    I have a better idea. Why don’t you. Change doesn’t always come if no one stand up for the truth. What if the abolishonists had not existed? Maybe there would still be slavery. What if no one had protested in Tahir Square? Maybe there would’ve been no Arab Spring in Egypt. What if there had been no Declaration of Independence? You should stick to what you are good at, methane. What that is I have no idea, but it sure is not arguing with me.

    The Moon is a moon, and the barycenter with Earth is within Earth, unlike the case of Charon. I am not going to spoonfeed you, methane. I did not give the entire def. I gave a few highlights. Of course, moons are excluded, but some call them satellite planets if they’ve achieved hydrostatic equilibrium. I personally don’t have a problem with that,

    I can use accusations in my argument. It isn’t like it is all I have. But it is relevant. So is Bell’s obnoxious behaviror whilst chairing the rancid session. Both suggest the fix was in. So does the lack of vetting and notice. I don’t believe that the demotion of Pluto part of the resolution was known to the members who left. You have not proven it to me. It is one of your tricks to feign superiority over me on this issue. Laurel said it wasn’t in it. So if I have to believe either her or you, I will believe her as she is using her real name and has some credibility within the astronomical community. You don’t. As far I know, you live in a dumpster.

    I am at one with the cosmos, methane. Deal with it.

  271. #272 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    * I have a better idea. Why don’t you.

    It seems to have missed your pea brain, but the definition is that Pluto IS NOT A PLANET.

    So, until it changes, if it ever does, YOU shut the fuck up, right?

    You fucking moronic piece of arrogant shit.

  272. #273 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    * The Moon is a moon, and the barycenter with Earth is within Earth

    OK, retarted shitstain, where the fuck in your definition here:

    “I said what the geophysical def is. Core, mantle, crust, hydrostatic equilibrium.”

    does it say ANYTHING about “the barycentre”? Let alone “within [the body of another]“.

    ACCORDING TO *YOUR* definition that you supplied, our Moon is a Planet:

    * Core?

    Check.

    * mantle?

    Check.

    * crust?

    Check

    hydrostatic equilibrium?

    Check.

    Moon, according to your definition IS A PLANET.

    Which is why your definition IS WRONG.

  273. #274 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    PS try using some element of actual thinking in your arguments.

    You whine and bitch and complain about ramrodding and vilify others, but you insist that it’s just me that’s rude? Fuck off smeg-head.

  274. #275 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    I didn’t give the entire def of the geophysical def and you get all pissy with me. Of course, it accounts for moons, too. I could look up the def for you, but not if you are going to be all pissy with me. I am not vilifying anyone. Mike Brown and that Bell lady are wonderful human beings, except that they sort of suck when it comes to Pluto. Okay, well, Brown sucks a lot when it comes to Pluto. Okay, so does she. And you blind parroting of the IAU definition is very grating. You are like a lemming marching off a cliff, methane. Think for yourself for a change.

    Oh, and yes you do have to be larger the further out from the Sun in order to clear your field. Ask Neptune, the King of the Kuiper Belt.

    Oh, and better wash those pants of yours. They reek of urine. Might want to find a new dumpster to sleep in tonight.

  275. #276 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    [quote]I didn’t give the entire def of the geophysical def[/quote]

    Then you should have said what the fuck it was when you said you’d said it, maybe, you moron?

    [quote]I could look up the def for you[/quote]

    So, how the fucking hell do you know that it’s just as good? YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS!

    So, your “point” there fails THREE TIMES OVER.

    [quote] I am not vilifying anyone[/quote]

    So you’re not saying that the IAU broke their rules, strong-armed people or are committing massive fraud on everyone by making pluto a non-planet.

    So what the hell ARE you saying?

    [quote]And you blind parroting of the IAU definition is very grating.[/quote]

    At least I know what the fucking definition IS, unlike you, you shitheaded moron.

    [quote]Oh, and yes you do have to be larger the further out from the Sun in order to clear your field. [/quote]

    No you don’t.

  276. #277 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    And my pants are staying on, you perverted asshole.

  277. #278 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    You crack me up, methane. Yeah, I didn’t give the entire def. You should know it by now if you read all the posts. So sue me. You are such a whiner. It is not vilifying when you tell the truth.

  278. #279 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    “Yeah, I didn’t give the entire def.”

    And you should.

    “You should know it by now if you read all the posts.”

    Except that you didn’t give the entire def in the posts you’ve made.

    Even you say that.

    So, yeah, your problem, moron.

  279. #280 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    “It is not vilifying when you tell the truth.”

    And it’s simple truth that you’re an ignorant anti-science moronic bigot drooling all over this site.

    Yet you claim it’s vilification of you and whine incessantly about it.

    Or is the “rest of the def” the hidden coda “Unless I say it”?

  280. #281 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    You could just ask. Sheesh. Whine. Whine.

  281. #282 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    I did ask.

    However, you decided not to put the entire definition up because you don’t know it.

    Sheesh.

    Bitch, whine, moan, everyone else’s fault you failed, whine.

  282. #283 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    Even better:

    Rather than actually PUT the definition up even when you’ve been told many times and even acknowledge yourself that you’ve not defined it, you preferred to whine bitch and moan about how it’s somehow my fault.

    You could have done the typing to put the actual definition up.

    But that wouldn’t give you opportunity to whine, would it?

  283. #284 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    I’ll put it up.

  284. #285 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    Still bang on form: posting without any content.

  285. #286 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    Grow up.

  286. #287 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    And yet again, another post that contains fuck all, despite all the “Well just ask!”.

    Seems like just asking isn’t working with the latest retard from the school of opinionated fuckwits!

  287. #288 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    You whine pretty good for someone that doesn’t whine, methane.

  288. #289 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    I’ll post it. Sheesh. I’m tied up right now, dear.

  289. #290 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    “Any non-self-luminous spheroidal body in orbit around a star.”

  290. #291 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    Three posts?

    And still nothing about it?

    “I’m too busy slagging you off for my problems to go and find out what it is I’ve been claiming is the better definition!!!!”

    LOL!

    Tell me, when you claimed that the IAU definition was crap and that this other definition was “equally valid”, why didn’t you tell everyone that you didn’t know what that other definition WAS?

    What a fucking loon!

  291. #292 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    Of course, if the definition now is completely different from, as opposed to merely an extension of your earlier claim, then the question arises: why did you claim one definition of a planet only to change the definition when it was discovered that the definition you’d used was patently absurd?

    The follow on query then becomes why did you claim a definition better when you clearly have no idea what the definition is, otherwise you would not have issued two incompatible versions of that definition?

    And rounding up the problems with your ridiculous circus of the grotesque is the question: why is it that the definition you use is so fluid that you will abandon any one proposed even by yourself if it can’t be substantiated, only to insist that any answer that does not merely categorically keep Pluto for reasons that have absolutely no validity to them, must be not only wrong, but a vicious attack on “real science”.

  292. #293 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    There you go again!

  293. #294 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    So, several problems with your completely different definition as of 290:

    #1 either brown dwarf stars are now planets, or Jupiter isn’t a planet any more.

    #1a worse, since thermonuclear reaction isn’t the source of the majority of the luminosity of either Jupiter or White Dwarfs (but not so of Brown Dwarfs), if Jupiter is a planet, then so are White Dwarf stars.

    #2 Pluto is still not a planet: it’s in orbit around Charon.

    #3 It is not a geophysical definition any more, being based on orbital dynamics.

    #4 As Steve tried with whining about how the IAU definition was wrong: since the Solar System is due to lose an inner planet, maybe Earth, does that make Earth not a planet? Either that whine is applicable here with your definition or it is not a valid criticism of the IAU definition, being an equal problem for either.

  294. #295 Wow
    November 13, 2013

    And in 293, yet another content-free whine.

    Well done, boy! Have a bikkit!

  295. #296 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    Pluto and Charon are both planets, methane. As to the other stuff, that’s not my field. I’ll let the experts sort it out in Honolulu and/or Vienna. But the status quo sucks. I know that.

  296. #297 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    Jupiter is still a planet. Don’t Bogart that joint, methane.

  297. #298 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    You are talking in circles. I hope you are amusing yourself with your feigned brilliance. Stars are not planets, dear.

  298. #299 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 13, 2013

    “And it’s simple truth that you’re an ignorant anti-science moronic bigot drooling all over this site.

    Yet you claim it’s vilification of you and whine incessantly about it.”

    I never said I was a scientist, but I am not anti-science. As far as being a bigot goes, you are the one that does not like morons. I never said I was vilified, hence I do not whine about it. You are the whiner here. I said I would post it and you need it the very next post. I was not in a position to look it up at your beck and call, Trixie.

  299. #300 Wow
    November 14, 2013

    #299, and I never claimed you were a lumberjack, either, yet you seem rather blase about it, moron. Why not post another message with how you’re not saying you’re a lumberjack?
    Timewasting moron.

  300. #301 Wow
    November 14, 2013

    “Jupiter is still a planet”

    Then white and brown dwarf stars are planets by your definition.

    Or, as I say, your definition is bullshit.

    So I take it that your redefinition is now the entirety of the “geophysical def” that now no longer contains anything about hydrostatic equilibrium, crust, mantle core, but rather concerns itself with dynamical features of orbital mechanics.

    So your “geophys def” isn’t actually a geophysical definition.

    And doesn’t work.

  301. #302 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 14, 2013

    Whatever, dude. I’m just wondering why you bigoted against morons.

  302. #303 Wow
    November 14, 2013

    So not only do you not understand science, you don’t understand what bigoted means.

    Wow. What a moron!

  303. #304 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 14, 2013

    Morons have feelings, too, methane. Not that I am one, of course.

    As far as me understanding science, I understand that the Earth and the other terrestrial planets, as well as the dwarf planets, including Ceres and Charon, are non-self-luminous spheriods. You are the one with a faulty understading of the geophysical definition.

    But that really is not the crux of the matter. The crux is that the current def sucks and the circumstances that led to the new def also suck; therefore, the issue needs to be reopened where real planetary scientists have input into a better def of a planet.

    I will follow the goings-on, but I never said I was a scientist. I certainly hope the people working on a new def are not as peevish and obnoxious as you are. You shouldn’t be allowed to be around people. Maybe we can fly you and your buddy Mike Brown to Eris.

  304. #305 Wow
    November 14, 2013

    “Morons have feelings, too”

    So you have nothing to say, moron?

    Jupiter produces, IIRC, 3% of the radiation it sends out by the release of gravitational potential energy of its atmosphere.

    If it were at 30AU, it would be producing as much or more energy than it receives from the sun.

    “But that really is not the crux of the matter.”

    Then why bring it up?

    Oh, that’s right: you have nothing. Therefore any distraction from any point to your argument must be taken.

    “The crux is that the current def sucks ”

    The crux is that you still are of the opinion that it sucks, however, such suckage is merely your opinion and therefore must be weighed against the opinions of others and in that weighing, such opinion lost.

    However, you will not accept that, but will still demand it of everyone else./

    Why?

    Because you#re a moron.

  305. #306 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 14, 2013

    oh methane,……..

    I am not the only person who thinks the current def sucks. In fact, I can think of one very prominent planetary scientist who thinks it sucks. But you just want to bully me because you know you can outscience me as that is not my field. But I am onto your game, and I follow all things Pluto enough to know what is garbage and what is good science. I might not be able to define concepts off the top of my head, but I am not your average lay man when it comes to Pluto.

    Did you see the launch, methane?

    Have you seen Pluto through a telescope?

    Anyway, does Jupiter luminate at all? That is the element in the def that you are taking issue with, is it not? If Jupiter produces light, this is the first time I’ve heard about it. I think you are talking about other stuff, not luminosity — therefore, such properties of Jupiter don’t mess up the alt def. If they do, I’d be happy to be enlightened.

    So you can talk about Jupiter being at 30AU, but if I talk about Earth at the distance of Pluto, you jump all over me……okay, methane……I will let it go this time……

    I am not a moron. I know a guy whose sergeant in the Marines called him an “oaf.” I am not sure I have ever met a certified-moron. Maybe I will check out You Tube to see a real moron and see if I bear any resemblance. Just to humor you.

  306. #307 Wow
    November 14, 2013

    “I am not the only person who thinks the current def sucks.”

    Neither am I the only one who thinks the current definition is fine.

    Indeed, its the majority view.

    PS there’s no such word as luminate, you nincompoop.

  307. #308 Wow
    November 14, 2013

    “I might not be able to define concepts off the top of my head,”

    Since you rely on these for your arguments, you really DO need to define them off the top of your head.

    Otherwise what are you basing your decisions on?

    Oh, that’s right: your whiney crybaby feelings.

    PS your definition still has Pluto not a planet.

  308. #309 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 14, 2013

    Yes, there is. Luminate is in Webster’s.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Luminate

    Lu´mi`nate
    v. t. 1. To illuminate.
    Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co.

    The majority view of who? IAU members? Yes, well, that is what you think, but after proper vetting and notice, a new, better def just might win, seeing as how the current def has a plethora of problems with it. I am not the right person to debate you as I am a lay man, but I have still held my own with you, despite your braggadocio. I do not rely on my feelings. But it is not your place in the universe to be my judge and jury. You are just a thorn in my side. If you want to argue with someone about this stuff, argue non-lay person. Will you verbally abuse them, too?

    Grow up, dude.

  309. #310 Wow
    November 14, 2013

    Well whoopie for you.

    In none of my dictionaries. You know, in England, UK. Where English comes from.

    Did you know that you saying “Grow up, dude” is listed under the Websters’ dictionary under the term “Irony”? It blew a few meters, you know.

  310. #311 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 14, 2013

    Be thankful I am around to enlighten you, methane.

    That explains a few derogatory references to Americans, then. Get over it, dude. We beat you when we were a colony, then we saved you from Hitler. And what is our thanks? You help take Pluto away from an American hero. If the science didn’t back up Pluto’s planethood, that would be one thing, but it does. Pluto is every bit as much a planet as Mercury and you know it.

  311. #312 Wow
    November 15, 2013

    You’d need to be talking fact rather than opinion, mikey, to even have a chance of enlightening people.

    “We beat you when we were a colony”

    No, *France* beat us when you were a colony. Then you called them “Surrender monkeys” when they didn’t support your pres in trying to protect his dad’s feelings by killing hundreds of thousands of people.

    Moreover, the only war you won.

    And it still required help from an European.

    PS you’re a ‘merkin, eh? Guess that explains why you wanna pluto, eh?

    Pluto isn’t a planet.

    Mercury is.

    Live with it.

  312. #313 Wow
    November 15, 2013

    Weird thing, though.

    You come up with a local dialect word and you’re “enlightening” me.

    I come up with

    Pluto tidally locked by Neptune
    IAU definition of what a planet is
    Jupiters large self-luminosity
    Brown Dwarfs being failed stars
    The purpose of a meeting chairmanship
    The 10 days discussion of the definition of a planet
    The changing of several planets to non-planet status before Pluto’s placement as a dwarf planet and no longer a planet

    and rather than be enlightened, you rail and lambast these facts and ignore them at best.

    Then you have the cheek to claim that I’m not open to information and you are?

  313. #314 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 15, 2013

    Yep.

  314. #315 Mike Wrathell
    Earth (Detroit)
    November 15, 2013

    We beat you. Deal with it. I never said I didn’t acknowledge a little help from our friends.

  315. #316 Mike Wrathell
    November 15, 2013

    Jupiter luminates? What’s in those fish and chips?

  316. #317 Mike Wrathell
    November 15, 2013

    Pluto is tidally-locked with Charon, methane.

  317. #318 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 15, 2013

    I acknowledge the Battle of Tours.

  318. #319 Mike Wrathell
    November 15, 2013

    Ever hear of collateral damage? That being said, I’d’ve preferred assassination.

  319. #320 Mike Wrathell
    November 15, 2013

    The only planet to be demoted before Pluto was Ceres. Vulcan never existed. If and when you luminate, I will acknowledge.

  320. #321 Wow
    November 15, 2013

    “The only planet to be demoted before Pluto was Ceres.”

    Firstly: Wrong.

    Neptune was demoted to 8th planet from 13th. That requires 5 planets to be removed from the list.

    Secondly, so what? That does not make Pluto a planet.

  321. #322 Wow
    November 15, 2013

    “We beat you.”

    You mean you’ve been trying to get Pluto demoted from planet status?

    Because that’s the case at the moment, therefore that’s the side that won.

  322. #323 Mike Wrathell
    Detroit
    November 15, 2013

    We beat you to win the American Revolutionary War.

  323. #324 Mike Wrathell
    November 15, 2013

    That’s not a demotion. Neptune’s never been deplanetized.

  324. #325 Mike Wrathell
    November 15, 2013

    Replanetize Pluto!

  325. #326 Wow
    November 15, 2013

    Since you’ve now given up even pretending to be on topic, you can put your fucking trash here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/

    Where your irrelevant and whiney bullshit won’t clog up the site used to educate rather than be a sounding board for your illuminati conspiracy theories.

  326. #327 Wow
    November 15, 2013

    Pluto is not a planet.

  327. #328 Mike Wrathell
    November 15, 2013

    I am very much on topic, methane.

  328. #329 Mike Wrathell
    November 15, 2013

    By the way, Neptune is not in the Kuiper Belt, so Pluto is King.

  329. #331 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 15, 2013

    That’s for you.

  330. #333 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 15, 2013

    You are the one with the abusive posts that indulge your penchant for confusing science with your ego. I stay on point much better than you do, methane. Furthermore, who farted and made you the Queen of Sheba?

  331. #334 Wow
    November 15, 2013

    No you fuckwitted streak of shit, that thread is where you go when you’re ignoring everything you’re being told and decided that your ignorance is far more important than anything else.

    So, take your illuminati conspiracy shit over to that thread if you want to continue it or fuck off completely.

    Pluto: it’s not a planet.

  332. #335 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    November 15, 2013

    I refuse to let you frame my comments. I never mentioned an illuminati conspiracy. You are the one calling people names on this thread. However, I will deal with you over there as you have to have the last word and it is usually retard or moron.

  333. #336 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    December 1, 2013

    It isn’t only non-astronomers who object to the IAU planet definition. Several hundred professional astronomers, as many as voted at the General Assembly, signed a formal petition rejecting the IAU definition within days. See http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/planetprotest/

    If you watch the IAU proceedings, you will see that the definition put before the General Assembly was thrown together hastily one day before the vote. You can watch the proceedings here: http://www.iau.org/public_press/videos/detail/iau2006session1/

    Just repeating ad nauseam “Pluto is not a planet” does not make it so. Just what a planet is and which definition should be used remain a matter of ongoing debate. That means there are two equally legitimate sides, which represent two equally valid ways of understanding the solar system. Time and new information, not a decree, will enlighten us and provide us with answers, assuming we continue exploring these fascinating worlds.

    However, name-calling and personal attacks do nothing to advance anyone’s cause and cannot help but make some people question whether certain commenters here really are who they say they are.

    To advocates of the geophysical planet definition, spherical moons of planets are secondary or satellite planets. They were referred to as such all the way back to the mid-19th century. Earth’s moon, being in hydrostatic equilibrium, is a satellite planet (as opposed to a primary planet). Interestingly, exomoons, or moons of gas giant exoplanets, are considered locations that could possibly harbor life.

Current ye@r *