“I have announced this star as a comet, but since it is not accompanied by any nebulosity and, further, since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet. But I have been careful not to advance this supposition to the public.” -Giuseppe Piazzi

So it begins again: the neverending debate about who gets to be a planet and who doesn’t. Everyone can bring their own interpretation of the science to the table — and everyone has their own preferred naming scheme — but when I think about the Solar System, I try to think about it in the context of all star systems.

Believe it or not, as far as we’re able to tell, they all have some very important things in common.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Click for an incredible experience!

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Click for an incredible experience!

One is that — in the grand scheme of things — all star systems are intimately connected in the sense that no star, as far as we can tell, is ever born in true isolation. Large molecular cloud complexes eventually undergo gravitational collapse, forming large numbers of stars all at once, anywhere from hundreds to tens of millions of stars in a single cluster! Although the stars that form in these clusters will come in a wide variety of sizes and masses, they all have many similar properties, including the same rough proportion of heavy elements to one another.

But with the exception of the highest mass, globular star clusters, these large groupings of stars don’t last very long.

Image credit: Fred Espenak of http://astropixels.com/, of the Hyades cluster.

Image credit: Fred Espenak of http://astropixels.com/, of the Hyades cluster.

The closest star cluster to us, the Hyades (just 151 light-years away), is in the process of dissociating, where repeated gravitational encounters with (or within) the disk of our galaxy drive the individual stars making a star cluster apart. Our Sun, itself, was very likely once a part of a similar cluster of thousands of stars, born some 4.5 billion years ago in one of our galaxy’s ancient star-forming regions!

But when they do form, these stars aren’t the only things that come about.

Image credit: C.R. O'Dell/Rice University; NASA.

Image credit: C.R. O’Dell/Rice University; NASA.

What will eventually become each star, to the best of our knowledge, starts out as a triaxial ellipsoid, undergoes gravitational collapse, forming a star (or stars) near the central region, pancakes along the shortest axis, and winds up forming a protoplanetary disk around the central protostar. The entire complex rotates with some angular momentum, and the protoplanetary disk itself typically lasts for a few million years.

Image credit: NASA / FUSE / Lynette Cook.

Image credit: NASA / FUSE / Lynette Cook.

During this time, there are a few physically interesting things fighting for superiority.

  • The young star (or stars) are shining brightly, emitting both intense radiation and charged particles, creating not just an inward gravitational force but also an outward flux of particles of both matter and radiation.
  • Small gravitational perturbations or instabilities in the disk are racing to grow as large as they can and accrue as much mass as they can before the disk boils away.
  • Denser objects — as well as objects with larger mass-to-surface-area ratios — are relatively less affected by the outward flux of the star(s), but are simultaneously subject to resistance (and mass accrual) from the particles they run into.

The net result of all this is that denser bodies and larger bodies tend to migrate inwards, and that the young star system begins to act as though there’s a net buoyant force, pulling denser objects inwards and forcing the less dense objects to the new system’s outskirts.

Image credit: Dr. Avi M. Mandell, NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center.

Image credit: Dr. Avi M. Mandell, NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center.

This might sound like an amazing, unique story, but — at the end of the day — it’s all just straightforward physics, and these are the inevitable consequences of our physical laws. In addition to that, there’s a tremendous temperature gradient around the star(s), where objects very close to the star (inside the Soot Line) have complex molecules (like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs) photodissociate, and objects beyond the Frost Line can condense into ices, but not inside.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech, InvaderXan of http://supernovacondensate.net/.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech, InvaderXan of http://supernovacondensate.net/.

So, with that in mind, what is a typical star system — once it’s all grown up — going to look like?

Inside the Frost Line, there can be rocky planets, gas giants, and moons, where the density of these worlds will tend to decrease as we move away from the central star. Beyond that, there will typically be a belt of frozen particles accrued at the Frost Line, exemplified by the asteroid belt in our own Solar System. (Sorry, Giuseppe Piazzi; it wasn’t a planet, after all!) Outside of the Frost Line, it’s typically only going to be puffy, gas giant worlds (although mini-Neptunes count) that can clear their orbits and exist as planets-as-we-know-them, and finally there will be both a scattered disk and a large, spheroidal cloud of frozen planetesimals, all of much lower density than the inner, rocky worlds.

Image credit: Karim A. Khaidarov, 2004, of http://bourabai.kz/solar-e.htm.

Image credit: Karim A. Khaidarov, 2004, of http://bourabai.kz/solar-e.htm.

Measurements of the densities of worlds in our own Solar System confirm this picture, as do the first measurements of some exoplanetary systems.

So that’s what pretty much every star system is going to look like: worlds interior to a system’s frost line that can be a mix of rocky planets and gas giants, rock-and-ice asteroids at the frost line, gas giants exterior to the frost line, and mostly-ice-worlds beyond that in a scattered disk and in a spheroidal distribution 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.

So what does that mean for considering an object a planet in our Solar System, or in our experience in general?

It means that there’s a fundamental difference between the round worlds in hydrostatic equilibrium that have cleared their orbits interior to the frost line and all others, and it means there’s a fundamental difference between the gas giant worlds beyond the frost line and all others, and it also means that all the frozen worlds — both the ice-and-rock worlds at the frost line as well as the mostly ice worlds out beyond them — are ubquitous and super common.

Image credit: NASA's The Space Place, via http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/ice-dwarf/.

Image credit: NASA’s The Space Place, via http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/ice-dwarf/.

If we make only the rocky worlds (and gas giant worlds) interior to the frost line planets, we have four planets. If we add in the gas giants beyond the frost line, we’d have four more, for a total of eight. If we decided to add in all the worlds in hydrostatic equilibrium — or with enough gravity to pull themselves into a sphere — we’d have something like an estimated 200 planets.

Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars aren’t special because they’re spheres; they’re special because of where they are and what their formation history is! They’re special because of their densities, temperatures, atmospheres (or lack thereof, right Mercury?) and locations.

Image credit: Alien Robot Zombies at http://www.alienrobotzombies.com/.

Image credit: Alien Robot Zombies by Bryan Magnum, at http://www.alienrobotzombies.com/.

If I had my way, that’s what I’d teach everyone about the Solar System, and that’s why I think that eight planets is just the right number for our Solar System. You may (and many of you, I’m sure, will) disagree, but this knowledge and understanding is part of the driving force behind Pluto’s 2006 “demotion” from planetary status, not some vendetta against the cold, icy worlds of the Kuiper Belt, Oort Cloud and other locations beyond our Solar System’s frost line.

Our eight planets are all special, and all the gas giants and rocky-worlds-interior-to-a-frost-line are special in exactly the same way. The asteroids, Kuiper Belt objects and Oort Cloud objects may be special in their own way as well, but it’s a decidedly different way than these worlds that we presently call planets are. So remember that the next time you argue about what is-or-isn’t a planet; this is how the Universe really works, and everything else is just a name!

Comments

  1. #1 Steven
    November 28, 2013

    Er, no. They are not “special in exactly the same way”. There’s a difference between the group of rocky bodies and all others, sure. There’s a difference between the group of gas giants and all others, sure. But the two groups themselves have nothing special in common. They do not cohere into a single exclusive group that excludes the other 200 planemos in our solar system . . . unless you deliberately and carefully pick a definition that has no purpose except to create a small list of “planets” that schoolchildren can memorize.

    At which point, one might ask why we don’t adopt similar rules for “galaxies”, so that kids can memorize a nice convenient list of a half dozen to a dozen or so. Just because it wasn’t traditional to have a short list of them dating back to the ancient Greeks?

  2. #2 Wow
    November 28, 2013

    “unless you deliberately and carefully pick a definition”

    Well, that is the definition of defining. Making it up as you go along without thought is NOT how you define words.

    And the 8 planets DO have something in common:

    a) Hydrostatic equilibrium
    b) Orbiting a Star
    c) Not a star itself
    d) Is the major player in its orbit. In other words, their orbit can be predicted solely on their sun’s influence.

    a) isn’t true of asteroids
    b) isn’t true of rogue planets
    c) isn’t true of stars
    d) isn’t true of pluto, ceres, et al (to a list of maybe 200)

    The ONLY ONE that you’re disagreeing with is (d) and the ONLY reason to disagree with it is if you want Pluto to be included in a list of planets of our sun.

    Because dropping (a) would make it tens of thousands of objects. If you’re not worried about the length of the list, why include (a) in your definition? 100,000 names is no more immemmorable than 200+.

  3. #3 Wow
    November 28, 2013

    “The closest star cluster to us, the Hyades (just 151 light-years away)”

    Wouldn’t that belong to the Ursa Major Moving Group? 70-90ly away, variously.

  4. #4 Birger Johansson
    November 28, 2013

    The Ursa Major Moving Group has dispersed to the degree that many stars in all directions around the sun are believed to have originated there, even if a small core remains in Ursa Major.
    If this group gets the status of a cluster, we would be living inside its boundaries. Try to explain that to school kids.

  5. #5 Wow
    November 28, 2013

    “Try to explain that to school kids.”

    That’s absolutely no problem at all. They’d go “Cool!”.

    Their *parents* on the other hand are a bit reactionary…

  6. #6 David L
    November 28, 2013

    “d) isn’t true of pluto, ceres, et al (to a list of maybe 200)”

    As Neptune was discovered because of its influence on the orbit of Uranus it is demonstrably not true for Uranus either!

  7. #7 Wow
    November 28, 2013

    Yes, David, your cunning assholishness beat my scientific rigour.

  8. #8 David L
    November 28, 2013

    “…..beat my scientific rigour.”

    Ah, it’s trying to hide over here is it. Why not try and drag it over to the pedal-power thread?

  9. #9 Wow
    November 28, 2013

    What? Feeling lonely, Dai?

  10. #10 psweet
    November 28, 2013

    So if a ring of asteroids forms at the frost line, what then happens to it as the star heats up over time? Are the volatiles slowly evaporated and pushed outwards?

    Oh, and when will we come up with a good definition of continent?

  11. #11 Robert
    Adelaide
    November 28, 2013

    Shouldn’t planetary formation take into account, pre-stellar ignition, stellar ignition and post stellar ignition, conditions. Also the impact of heat radiated from the forming planet upon the surrounding dust cloud (heat generated from impact, compression and radioactive elements).
    Upon ignition a massive cloud wave front is pushed out to the edge of the system driven by new solar winds and expanding gases, favouring lighter elements and giving already existing stony worlds a massive coat, the further out the greater ( a balance between diffusion of stellar energy input, volume of dust cloud and rapid growth of the gravity well).
    Forming planets also within themselves start to create conditions where denser elements are more likely to accumulate and lighter elements are driven off, with the bulk of the accumulation of volatile and light elements being post ignition when the massive much denser waver front passes.
    As well as catastrophic solar system formation (planets out of sequence) as being the norm, no matter how disturbing rather, rather than adjusting system formation models to suit.
    So the question remains, how much planetary accumulation occurs prior to stellar ignition and how it changes after stellar ignition, with only first stage suns being fusion ignited and 2nd, 3rd stage suns being fission ignited (access to newly created radioactive elements), which also significantly alters planetary formation. So sun colour allows modelling of likely solar systems.

  12. #12 Alissa
    November 29, 2013

    So this means the asteroid belt now exists where Sol’s frost line was? What happens to the soot line?

  13. #13 StevoR
    December 1, 2013

    Ethan Siegel, I love your work but afraid on this topic I have to respectfully disagree.

    I think Pluto and the other ice dwarfs worlds count as planets as much as any other planets do and are all special in their own ways too.

    All planets formed out of the swirling debris cloud from the largest to the smallest.

    All planets, to me, are gravitationally rounded, not shining by core nuclear fusion and not moons of other planets. That’s how I see it and how I think the term makes most sense.

    As for the number of planets – if there are over 200 of them then (shrug) there are over 200 of them. Why is that bad?

    We already know there are (almost certainly) more than millions of planets out there round other stars. Should our solar system settle for a mere eight because of our counting bias? I don’t think so.

    If Pluto was where Earth was we’d be in no doubt it was a planet.

    If Earth orbited where Pluto was would we really quibble then? I doubt it.

    What difference does a frost line really make when you have objects that are clearly one thing – round, fascinating, worlds in their own right -rather than any other – cometary nuclei, asteroids, etc .. ?

    You have different objects forming of different substances at different distances sure, but why when one reaches the right level, right size, call it something else if its made of ice and rock versus just rock or mostly gas?

    If a person is tiny and a crowd of similar small individual humans we don’;t say s/he stops being a person do we?

    A small animal, a small plant, found in a herd or a forest or grassland of suchlike living things isn’t any different – they are still what they are – animal or vegetable not something else that they really aren’t.

    So it is too, in my view for planets, sure they may be small, sure they may be in a zone full of similar planets but planets they still are.

    If you disagree, please explain,exactly why you think that should not be considered the case?

  14. #14 StevoR
    December 1, 2013

    PS. A dwarf star is still a star – indeed almost every star is a dwarf star including our Sun.

    A “dwarf” variety of almost every plant or animal species is counted as still belonging to that species in science, regardless of how numerous the individuals in its flock / pack / herd / forest / shrubland / reef, etc .. might be.

    The scientific convention and precedent thus seems very clear and seems to say that dwarfs are still planets /animals / plants, etc ..

    Dwarfism is not an excluding factor from being ‘X’ whatever ‘X’may be!

  15. #15 StevoR
    December 1, 2013

    Beyond the frost line is where worlds like Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto formed.

    So, if we make that our divide then why count Jupiter and Neptune but not Pluto? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    If we shift to cleared orbits – again that’s really problematic because no orbit is really that “clear” and if a rogue planet entered the solar system and entered a collision course with Earth or Venus would that stop either of them being planets? Surely not!

    And what about a world that hypothetically forms right on the boundary – half outside the frostline and half within? Planet or not?

    Also, if memory serves, we know that some comets formed at least partially close to the Sun from results from particles back from one of them (Wild 2 I think?) apparently formed in the inner solar system. So, could the same be true of Pluto and its kin? Could Pluto have formed at least partially in the inner solar system and migrated outwards? If so what does that do to the whole inside the frostline = planet; outside = not idea?

    No, sorry Ethan, I just don’t buy this line of argument here. We may just have to agree to disagree.

  16. #16 Wow
    December 1, 2013

    “Beyond the frost line is where worlds like Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto formed.

    So, if we make that our divide then why count Jupiter and Neptune but not Pluto?”

    It’s explained in the ATL text, Steve.

    Did you read it?

    The frost line is not “the end of the planets”, it’s the end of the small rocky ones.

    Because past that point, water, the most common molecule in a protoplanetary disk, can stop around for a bit and be picked up and, being far more common than silicon et al, that means a lot more mass.

  17. #17 Wow
    December 1, 2013

    “I think Pluto and the other ice dwarfs worlds count as planets as much as any other planets do”

    And there’s a bloke works down the chipshop, thinks he’s Elvis.

    “and are all special in their own ways too. ”

    Yeah, you didn’t read ATL at all, did you, steve.

    The asteroids, Kuiper Belt objects and Oort Cloud objects may be special in their own way as well, but it’s a decidedly different way than these worlds that we presently call planets are

  18. #18 Wow
    December 1, 2013

    “PS. A dwarf star is still a star – indeed almost every star is a dwarf star including our Sun.”

    Irrelevant.

    In Tolkein, Dwarves are a different race. Here in real life, they’re humans.

    The words mean different things depending on where they’re being used.

    So “Dwarf Stars are stars!” is not proof dwarf planets are planets.

    Indeed your continual whining about that point is why the IAU nearly didn’t create the category “Dwarf Planet” because people whinging will use it to say the IAU are wrong. It’s why they didn’t do “Classical Planets”. And it may be the few people who wanted pluto argued into being a planet like the others argued for its inclusion: so they can say to themselves “It’s still REALLY a planet!”.

    Dwarf star being a star is irrelevant to whether a dwarf planet is a planet.

    Why?

    Because of the definition of star and planet. Dwarfism in stars still mean they fuse elements in their cores under self-ignition. Since that is the definition of a star, they’re stars.

    Dwarfism in planets mean they haven’t cleared their orbit, which is a requirement for being a planet, so dwarf planets are not planets.

  19. #19 Chris' Wills
    December 1, 2013

    Dwarfism in planets mean they haven’t cleared their orbit, which is a requirement for being a planet, so dwarf planets are not planets.

    So, according to that neither Jupiter nor Neptune are planets as they haven’t cleared their orbits!?

    As for dwarf planets being planets, they fulfill the IAU criteria bar the clearing the orbit part. So to say they aren’t a sub-type of planets seems a stretch. If they manage to clear the orbit, excepting trojans, do they then magically become real planets even if they stay out beyond the Kuiper belt?

    Ethans explanation makes sense to me the IAU not so much.

  20. #20 Wow
    December 1, 2013

    “So, according to that neither Jupiter nor Neptune are planets as they haven’t cleared their orbits!?”

    No, according to that definition, both Jupiter and Nepture are planets because they’ve cleared their orbits.

    As for dwarf planets not being planets, they do not fulfill the IAU criteria in all cases. So to say they are a subtype of planets is wrong. If they managed to clear their orbits, then they will become planets, just like the protoplanetary disk becomes a planet when it coalesces into one and stops being a planet when it’s broken into many pieces that do not have the size to retain hydrostatic equilibrium.

    Ethan’s explanation is untroubling to the IAU.

    The only trouble are whiners who don’t want pluto to be ousted from planet status because, well, who the hell knows…

  21. #21 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    December 1, 2013

    Ceres is a planet, and our solar system does not have only 8 planets, at least according to the equally legitimate geophysical planet definition. 19th century astronomers did not know that Ceres is in hydrostatic equilibrium and therefore a complex world that doesn’t belong in the category of asteroids and comets. It makes little sense to lump objects that structurally and compositionally are much more akin to the larger planets than to asteroids and comets with the latter category. It also makes little sense to require an object to “clear its orbit” to be a planet. We cannot look only at where an item is; we have to look at the individual item and what it is. These small spherical worlds are planets that have most of the same features the rocky planets have; the only difference is they are smaller.

    The notion that we have to limit the number of planets in the solar system because we cannot have too many makes absolutely no sense. Memorization is not important to learning. Kids can be taught the different subclasses of planets and the characteristic of each subclass. After all, we don’t require kids to memorize the names of all rivers or mountains on Earth or the names of all Jupiter’s 67 moons.

    The “IAU criteria” are not some gospel truth that should be taken as THE standard an object has to meet to be considered a planet. They represent one point of view in an ongoing debate. And they could result in the same object being considered a planet in one location and not a planet in another, something that makes absolutely no sense.

    Why not instead recognize that some planets clear their orbits and some don’t? Similarly, some planets have no orbits to clear as they don’t orbit any stars (rogue planets). Yet structurally, they are planets.

    Exoplanet systems clearly show that our solar system is not necessarily typical in its formation or layout. Every time an anomalous system is discovered, astronomers are sent back to the drawing board in determining how that system formed. There may very well be more than one way to make planetary systems. Otherwise, how do you explain hot Jupiters in close orbits around their stars? How do you classify giant planets in extremely elliptical orbits that travel through asteroid belts in those orbits? How do you determine what it means for an orbit to be “clear?”

    Dwarf planets are special in the same way the larger planets are and are NOT special in the way asteroids, comets, and Small Solar System bodies are. The latter are frequently loose rubble piles shaped only by their chemical bonds. They are tiny and don’t have the complex structure that dwarf planets, which are small planets, have.

    This isn’t about Pluto. It is about a dynamical versus a geophysical definition of planet and about whether the term planet should be kept narrow or broad. Given that Dawn has shown Vesta, which is not completely in hydrostatic equilibrium, to be more planet-like than asteroid-like, why not wait for the data from New Horizons and Dawn to show us just how unique and complex Pluto and Ceres are?

  22. #22 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 1, 2013

    Watch your language, methane.

  23. #23 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 2, 2013

    There is no Frost Line. Such a line is cute, but rather arbitrary and capricious, not to mention unscientific in the extreme. Someone’s had too much pumpkin pie!

  24. #24 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 2, 2013

    There are other troubles besides Pluto huggers, methane. One, for example, are name-calling, pompous trolls who kowtow to the IAU.

  25. #25 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 2, 2013

    To bring up estimates is a red herring. There’s only a handful of dwarf planets. Making them a subclass of planets is endorsed by over 200 distinguished planetary scientists. Maybe even Frosty the Snowman, as well, who lives on the right side of your beloved Frost Line. Estimates are for realtors, not those making scientific definitions. Get a grip.

  26. #26 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    Mike, to bring up the number is a red herring: that isn’t your complaint.

    Pluto is not a planet.

    Telling others “get a grip”when you’ve been throwing a hell of a tantrum about pluto not being a planet is rich.

    “There is no Frost Line”

    WOW!

    So according to mike the shitheaded little moronic retard, water DOES NOT FREEZE.

    Shitting pope on a rope, you’re a moron!

  27. #27 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “Ceres is a planet, and our solar system does not have only 8 planets, at least according to the equally legitimate geophysical planet definition”

    Ceres is not a planet, and our solar system has 8 planets discovered so far.

    The geophysical definition was posited by mike the childish arsehole and he never managed to actually define it and backtracked off any definition claimed several times.

    That geophysical definition

    a) is not known by you
    b) has not been tested as to whether it meets your claims by you
    c) is not the valid definition of a planet.

    Pluto is not a planet.

    Get over it.

  28. #28 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “Ceres is in hydrostatic equilibrium ”

    So is Titan.

    So therefore by geophysical definition, it’s a planet.

    Oh, no, it’s not, is it.

    ALL you know about the geophysical definition is

    a) the words
    b) the idea that it claims pluto as a planet

    and those, frankly, are the only things you care about.

    Accuracy and rigour is something alien to you morons.

  29. #29 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 2, 2013

    There you go again, methane.

    Don’t put words on my mouth, troll.

    Yes, water freezes. There’s ice on Mercury, Earth, and Mars, genius. The Frost Line isn’t in the current IAU definition. Therefore, you shouldn’t support cutting off planets on its colder side, lackey that you are, correct?

  30. #30 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    Yeah, all that facts and reality and all that jazz. I keep going with it, but you repeat your whine.

    Pluto is not a planet. Get over it.

  31. #31 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “Don’t put words on my mouth, troll.

    Yes, water freezes. ”

    Then there IS a Frost Line.

    I never put words in your mouth: I only showed you how moronic your statement “There is no such thing as a Frost Line” is.

    Then you got all butt hurt.

    Just like you did when you came up with a “definition” of the geophysical definition of a planet THAT WASN’T THE DEFINITION. Then you went “I never said that was all it was”.

    Well, you never said that it was incomplete either.

    But here you go again, “not saying” the stupid things pointed out as the MEANING of your asinine and vapid whinier outpourings.

    Pluto is not a planet.

  32. #32 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 2, 2013

    If you wanna talk about the geo def, talk to the person who just defined it, genius.

    The Frost Line is a silly concept by some blogger. It is not anything of note, in my opinion. Nor is the Soot Line. Soot is what comes out of your mouth during your vile rants and vulgar profanity-laced ravings.

    Don’t waste my time. Try being intelligent or shut up.

  33. #33 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    Pluto is not a planet.

    Repeated because you seem incapable of grasping this fact.

  34. #34 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “The Frost Line is a silly concept by some blogger.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frost_line_%28astrophysics%29

    Yup, you’re a moron.

  35. #35 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    Whatever, methane.

  36. #36 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 2, 2013

    To use the Front Line to keep Pluto and Ceres from being replanetized is a pathetic, desperation move. Knowing full well that the current IAU definition is short-lived due to it holes and the nefarious way in which it was passed on St. Bartholomew’s Massacre Day 2006, now Pluto’s problems are not only that it is “too small” but also that it is “too cold.”

    Pathetic.

    Mike Brown, as you know, when he first co-discovered Eris told he wife that it was a planet. Then, when he realized the IAU wasn’t going to call it a planet, he quickly changed his tune and went after Pluto in another desperation move.

    When I correct you, I do not call you a moron. I expect the same courtesy, methane. Why don’t you grow up and stop idolizing grown men who behead dolls?

  37. #37 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    I mean, “Frost Line,” of course…..

  38. #38 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    Dwarf planets are planets. Dwarf stars are stars. Dwarf galaxies are galaxies. Get over it, methane. Be consistent. Be a sane, logical person who does not resort to incessant insults and name-calling. Otherwise, go away. You are not contributing anything productive here until such time as you heed my advice.

  39. #39 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “I mean, “Frost Line,” of course…..”

    What? That thing in astrophysics that you thought was made up by Ethan on the spur of the moment for this post???

  40. #40 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    Dwarf planets are not planets.

    Not even you believe that bullshit, otherwise you wouldn’t be whining about the IAU definition that makes Pluto a dwarf planet.

    Pluto is not a planet.

  41. #41 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    moron mike: “Whatever”

    Yeah, like you being wrong is a “whatever”.

    Actually, for once you’re right: this indeed is the reason why your whines are irrelevant to the definition of planet. Because your opinion and “knowledge” on the subject is irrelevant and a “whatever”.

  42. #42 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    You wish, methane.

  43. #43 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    No, it is, mikey.

  44. #44 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    Why are you here? Go collect some frost or something. The adults want to talk now, methane.

  45. #45 Chris' Wills
    December 2, 2013

    No, according to that definition, both Jupiter and Nepture are planets because they’ve cleared their orbits.

    Both Jupiter and Neptune have their own sets of Trojan asteroids in their orbits. Their orbits are, therefoere, not cleared.. Just saying they have cleared their orbits doesn’t make it so, however much you may wish it to be true.

    If they managed to clear their orbits, then they will become planets

    So dwarf planets can become planets by changing one minor condition. Feel free to consider them not planets but you are stretching a minor thing into a major issue.

    Even before it had almost completely cleared its orbit most people would have called Jupiter a planet not a dwarf planet.

  46. #46 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    Why are *you* here, mike?

    Pluto isn’t a planet.

    If you want to change that, then get out there and organise to get the definition changed.

  47. #47 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “Both Jupiter and Neptune have their own sets of Trojan asteroids in their orbits”

    Yup.

    But those are moons and asteroids of zero impact on Jupiter’s orbit.

    Jupiter owns its orbit. It dominates it.

    Pluto does not.

    Pluto is not a planet.

    Jupiter is.

  48. #48 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “So dwarf planets can become planets by changing one minor condition.”

    Yes.

    Just like an SSB can become a planet by changing two.

    Or a planet can become an SSB if it breaks up.

    Where is this problem you seem to be alluding to?

  49. #49 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 2, 2013

    Maybe I am, methane. I can multi-task.

  50. #50 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 2, 2013

    Earth doesn’t clear its orbit, either. We share our orbit with, at last count, 19,500 other celestial objects. Great defintion, methane. Don’t dominate this comment board, bro.

  51. #51 dean
    December 2, 2013

    “Clearing the orbit” does not mean there are no other objects in the orbit: it means that the body is large enough, with enough of a gravitational field, so that if other bodies are in the orbit they are deflected or pulled in: either way, they do not exert noticeable influence on the larger object’s path. Those other objects do not influence Earth’s movement: not so with the smaller bodies.

  52. #52 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    Remember, dean, mike knows fuck all, but is DAMN certain that the IAU are wrong, so anything is believed to that end.

    Hell, the moronic arsehole kept bleating on about the “geophysical definition” then came up with a definition that WASN’T geophysical. When called up on it, changed the definition completely with the Jedi hand-wave of “That was not a complete[ly accurate?] definition”.

    But if it wasn’t complete, why wasn’t it in the second attempt at defining it?

    Because the moron hasn’t a fucking clue.

  53. #53 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “Maybe I am, methane.”

    Am what?

    Wrong?

    Hell yes.

    “I can multi-task.”

    Gosh? Really? So what?

  54. #54 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “Earth doesn’t clear its orbit”

    The earth has cleared its orbit.

    Moons, asteroids, dust clouds, comets, LGMs, santa clause and photons et al don’t count.

    Pluto hasn’t: Neptune is none of those.

  55. #55 Tim
    December 2, 2013

    There should be, by definition, 9 classical planets. These are the objects in hydrostatic equilibrium discovered in the period before we had telecopes in orbit. When you talk of true planets, there are 8, with ~200 dwarf planets or planetoids. Yes, this is all semantics, but science is full of these. Why is Greenland not a continent? Why are Europe and Asia different continents? Why is a tomato a vegetable that has no business being in a fruit salad? What about an avocado? Don’t even get me started on true nuts vs. culinary nuts. Think peanuts, pecans, walnuts and cashews all belong in a single can marked “mixed nuts”? We use simple inaccurate classifications all the time. Leave the simple 9 planets alone. Call them classical and go wild with meaningful classifications for those who dig deeper. To me, that is part of the beauty of science. Like a wise ogre once said, it is like an onion.

  56. #56 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    Get off my back, troll.

  57. #57 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    December 2, 2013

    Ethan is simply reiterating the dynamical definition of planet, which centers on where an object is. That is why he argues that objects beyond the Frost Line cannot be considered planets. I disagree because as a supporter of the geophysical planet definition, I cannot support a classification system that completely ignores what an object is and categorizes it solely by where it is. Not everything beyond the frost line is a tiny planetesimal. Some objects in the outer solar system are much larger and far more complex. Pluto has an atmosphere, and its density is closer to that of the rocky planets than to that of tiny KBOs. Ethan also repeats the argument that having “too many planets” somehow makes the term less “special.” I disagree with this as well. Does the fact that there are billions of stars in the galaxy and billions of galaxies in the universe diminish the words “star” and “galaxy?” I don’t think so.

    The further a planet is from its parent star, the larger an orbit it will have to “clear.” That is an inherent bias of the dynamical planet definition. We know from exoplanet systems that not all solar systems form the same way and that there are many different patterns of planetary migration, many of which we do not yet fully understand.

    Any classification that puts Jupiter and Earth in the same category but excludes objects like Pluto makes no sense. Earth has more in common with Pluto than with Jupiter. Both Earth and Pluto are rocky worlds rounded by their own gravity. Both have large moons formed via giant impacts. Both have nitrogen in their atmospheres, and both are geologically differentiated into core, mantle, and crust. In contrast, Jupiter’s composition is far more like that of the Sun, largely hydrogen and helium. It has no solid surface and has its own “mini-solar system” of moons and rings.

    The geophysical planet definition is this: A planet is a non-self-luminous spheroidal body orbiting a star or free-floating in interstellar space (the latter referring to rogue planets).

    There is no single legitimate definition of a planet. Wow, your constant repetition of the same statements does not make them anything more than one side in an ongoing debate. Science is not decided by a decree from a person or group who call themselves an “authority.” You should know that.

  58. #58 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    It’s not my job to define terms for you. Someone just defined it a few posts ago. I’m not your servant, methane.

  59. #59 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “There should be, by definition, 9 classical planets.”

    The term classical planets was overwhelmingly voted down, Tim.

    “These are the objects in hydrostatic equilibrium discovered in the period before we had telecopes in orbit.”

    This “definition” is *exactly* why “classical planets” was quashed, Tim.

    And it would make for 5 planets, not nine.

    “Why is Greenland not a continent? Why are Europe and Asia different continents? ”

    Geographers don’t have a definition of continent.

    But that has naff all to do with the IAU, astronomy, or the definition of planet.

  60. #60 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    The mantra that there are probably 200 dwarf planets in our solar system is a red herring, a rhetorical device to cloud the issue. There is only a handful of known dwarf planets. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

  61. #61 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “That is why he argues that objects beyond the Frost Line cannot be considered planets.”

    Ah, so when you talked about what Ethan was saying, you’d never actually READ what he said.

    “I disagree”

    Ditto.

    But your disagreement with the definition is worthless.

    Sorry.

    That’s just the way it is.

    Pluto is not a planet.

    They geophysical definition, never mind mikey’s ridiculous non-definition of it, doesn’t work.

    The current definition does.

    Pluto is not a planet.

  62. #62 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “It’s not my job to define terms”

    Indeed it isn’t.

    Yet you still whine and bitch that your definition isn’t taken when EVEN YOU don’t know what it is.

  63. #63 Laurel Kornfeld
    December 2, 2013

    “But your disagreement with the definition is worthless.
    Sorry.
    That’s just the way it is.
    Pluto is not a planet.
    They geophysical definition, never mind mikey’s ridiculous non-definition of it, doesn’t work.
    The current definition does.
    Pluto is not a planet.”

    Your statements above are not science. They are an attempt to impose your view and only yours onto an ongoing debate. My disagreement is worthless–why? Because you say so? The fact that you write statements like this says more about your shortcomings in defending your position. The geophysical planet definition works just fine; that view is held by many scientists, not just by me and Mike W. Trying to “lay down the law” like a dictator does nothing to support your case. Please address the issues I raised regarding the problems inherent in the dynamical definition.

    According to the geophysical planet definition, Titan, Ceres, and Pluto are all planets because they are celestial bodies in hydrostatic equilibrium orbiting a star.

  64. #64 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “The further a planet is from its parent star, the larger an orbit it will have to “clear.” That is an inherent bias of the dynamical planet definition.”

    And is a problem WHY? It’s not even why pluto doesn’t get to be a planet.

    There’s more orbit, but less stuff. And the stuff out there is generally bigger because they can take on ice as a constituent.

    That, too, is an “inherent bias”.

    But then you’ve not said why it’s a problem, have you?

    “Any classification that puts Jupiter and Earth in the same category but excludes objects like Pluto makes no sense.”

    Nope, it makes perfect sense.

    That is why the definition was nearly unanimously passed by people whose job it is to deal with these things as scientists.

    “Earth has more in common with Pluto than with Jupiter.”

    First, nope.

    Second, “having something in common with Earth more than it does with Jupiter” would be a stupid definition of planet. So it isn’t part of the definition.

    Again, a non problem.

    “Both Earth and Pluto are rocky worlds”

    Do you know what Pluto is?

    ASTEROIDS are rocky.

    That doesn’t make them planets.

    “Both have large moons formed via giant impacts”

    Ah, that answers my question: no, you don’t know anything about pluto.

    Charon wasn’t formed like our moon was and Pluto didn’t gain it the same way. And adding the masses of both together still fall short of the moon’s mass.

    “Jupiter’s composition is far more like that of the Sun, largely hydrogen and helium.”

    And you don’t know either Jupiter or the Sun, either.

    Well done.

    “The geophysical planet definition is this: A planet is a non-self-luminous spheroidal body orbiting a star or free-floating in interstellar space (the latter referring to rogue planets).”

    Then the Moon is a planet?

    EVERY asteroid is a planet?

    EVERY comet a planet?

    The entire Oort cloud a planet?

    You’d have uncounted, nay, UNCOUNTABLE numbers of “planets”.

    And SOHO would be a planet by your definition there too.

    That isn’t the geophysical definition of a planet.

    But I guess you’ll not let ignorance get in the way of a moronic opinion, will you?

  65. #65 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “According to the geophysical planet definition, Titan, Ceres, and Pluto are all planets ”

    And that’s why the geophysical definition was not used.
    PS why didn’t Luna become a planet? It’s a damn sight bigger than Pluto.

  66. #66 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “Your statements above are not science”

    They’re facts.

  67. #67 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “There is only a handful of known dwarf planets.”

    cf your earlier laughable attempts at stating “fact” that turned out to be a turd sandwich of ideas, mikey.

    You are wrong.

    As usual.

  68. #68 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “My disagreement is worthless–why? Because you say so? ”

    No, because you are a clueless idiot with strong opinions on something you know nothing about.

  69. #69 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    Pluto:
    Ice surface.
    Ice layers beneath.
    Rock and iron core. Not molten.
    Atmosphere: freezes out.

    Earth:
    Rocky surface.
    Molten layers beneath.
    Molten iron sub-core
    Solid iron core.
    Atmosphere: persistent.

    Yeah, they have soooo much in common…

  70. #70 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    Jupiter: Rocky core maybe 20 earth masses.

    Pluto: Rocky core, maybe 1/450th an earth mass.

  71. #71 Tim
    December 2, 2013

    The loudest voice should not get to win the arguement.
    1) Who voted down the term classical planet? How was it “overwhemingly”?
    2) I was not aware we had telescopes in orbit before the discovery and original classification of Pluto as a planet. Please list the name of the orbiting observatory that leads to your list of five plants.
    3) You missed my larger point that all scientific classification is inherently messy. I purposely made an analogy to other fields of science. If you dismiss an analogy because it does not meet a specific definition (i.e. having to do with the IAU) you have missed the point of using an analogy.

    If your facts are so strong why do you have to berate people in order to make your points? Please try to keep your replies to my above questions respectful or don’t bother to answer.

  72. #72 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “The loudest voice should not get to win the arguement.”

    Yeah, so stop screaming, Tim.

    What DID win the argument was the discussion over 10 days the definition of planet that the IAU then voted on that states that there are only 8 planets and that Pluto is not one of them.

    But you and a few other stridulent hawkers of ignorance keep bleating as loud as you can to change it.

    The loudest voice should not win the argument.

  73. #73 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “If your facts are so strong why do you have to berate people in order to make your points? ”

    I don’t.

    The points, however, are never listened to by you morons so I need to club them into your thick skulls with the bluntest tools available.

    Even then, the work never seems to stick.

  74. #74 Tim
    December 2, 2013

    I was not aware that I was screaming. And you ignored all of my questions and jumped right into insulting me. You could have answered with facts, but you chose personal attacks. I am not sure what 10 day debate you are referring to, but the Great Planet Debate at Johns Hopkins in 2008 left no concensous.

    If you don’t have to berate people to make your points, ask yourself why you chose in that very post to call me a moron and not answer my questions? Science advances with the debate of ideas, not personal insults. It is in my opinion a shame you berated your way into dominating this discussion. Have fun talking to yourself. I am done.

  75. #75 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “I was not aware that I was screaming.”

    Ah, but you thought I was loud.

    How does that work?

  76. #76 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    I answered some of questions of yours, Tim.

    And many more have no purpose to being answered since they do not progress any understanding at all.

    And several have been rhetorical.

    And a few asinine.

  77. #77 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    And I note, Tim, that despite all the wailing you make, you’ve not yet noticed that your definition of classical planets make 5 planets, not 9.

  78. #78 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    What is your problem with me saying there is only a handful of known dwarf planets?

    You just want to disagree with everything for the sake of being disagreeable? It is working. Are you going to repeat the mantra about the 200 dwarf planets supposedly lurking beyond our ken? There could also be 865 Jupiters, too. Speculation of this kind is a cheap rhetorical device. Why stoop to that? Don’t you want to be taken seriously?

  79. #79 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    “What is your problem with me saying there is only a handful of known dwarf planets?”

    I have no problem with it.

    Your problem with it is that it’s wrong.

    Entirely wrong.

    Ripsnortingly wrong.

    If you’d any sense of self worth or dignity, embarrassingly wrong.

    But you won’t let reality impinge upon your “right” to make shit up to support your flatulent cause.

  80. #80 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    You are full of it.

  81. #81 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    Why is it wrong?

  82. #82 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    Because the figure is known to be 45 and there are maybe 150 other known candidates for the same categorisation, dumbass.

    Because you apparently think the “200″ is made up when that is only your ignorance and arrogance speaking.

    Because it’s wrong.

    There are a shitload more than a handful of dwarf planets.

  83. #83 Wow
    December 2, 2013

    I am full. However, what’s your problem with that?

  84. #84 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    December 2, 2013

    “That is why the definition was nearly unanimously passed by people whose job it is to deal with these things as scientists.”

    Really? The majority of the 424 IAU members who voted on the planet definition are NOT planetary scientists but other types of astronomers. Planetary scientists are the people who most deal with planets, and they, not cosmologists or specialists in one of the many other areas of astronomy, are the ones whose job it is to define the term planet.

    The reason I noted that Earth has more in common with Pluto than with Jupiter is to show the weakness of the IAU definition, which puts Earth and Jupiter in the same category but excludes Pluto.

    “ASTEROIDS are rocky. That doesn’t make them planets.”

    Asteroids are rubble piles loosely held together and shaped by their chemical bonds. In contrast, planets are shaped by their own gravity, which squeezes them into a round shape. Asteroids are not geologically layered and are not complex worlds with geology and weather the way small planets are. How is blurring the distinction between tiny, shapeless asteroids and complex worlds good science?

    Yes, according to the geophysical planet definition, the Moon is a secondary or satellite planet. I don’t understand why this is a problem for you. If an object is massive enough to be squeezed into a round or near-round shape by its own gravity, it is a small planet. If it tiny and too small to be rounded by its own gravity, it is an asteroid or comet. SOHO is not a celestial body but an artificial satellite, which is why it is not a planet.

    Pluto is estimated to be 70 percent rock. We don’t know much about its core, but that will change with the New Horizons flyby. Pluto’s atmosphere never completely freezes out to the point of being lost. Scientists now believe Pluto maintains at least some of its atmosphere throughout its 248-year orbit.

    “Charon wasn’t formed like our moon was and Pluto didn’t gain it the same way.”

    Charon is believed by scientists to have formed when a proto-planet smashed into proto-Pluto early in the solar system’s history, much the same way as Earth’s moon formed when a Mars-sized object impacted the Earth.

    “Jupiter: Rocky core maybe 20 earth masses.”
    At this point, that is speculation. It is still unclear whether Jupiter even has a solid core.

    “What DID win the argument was the discussion over 10 days the definition of planet that the IAU then voted on that states that there are only 8 planets and that Pluto is not one of them.”

    First, this is a scientific debate, and unlike political debates, it is not about winning and losing. Nothing “won” because debates are constantly reshaped as new and better information becomes available. Four percent of the IAU voted on the 2006 resolution, which was hastily thrown together in the last 24 hours of the General Assembly. An equal number of professional astronomers signed a formal petition rejecting that definition. Seven years later, many astronomers continue to reject it. It was never even close to being approved “unanimously.” Ninety-six percent of IAU members couldn’t vote because they weren’t in the room on a particular day, and no electronic or absentee voting was allowed. And immediately after the vote, one man who did vote asked for Pluto to be put back on the list of planets. Watch the video, and you will see this. He was told by Jocelyn Bell Burnell that it was too late; the resolution had already been adopted. This means he wasn’t clear about the resolution he had just voted for!

    The list of planets was actually in the footnotes of the resolution, and if you watch the video from the beginning, you will see that there was a lot of confusion over whether the footnotes did or did not count as part of the resolution.

    “Ah, that answers my question: no, you don’t know anything about pluto.”
    I know Pluto is NOT an asteroid.
    Is that what you say to everyone who disagrees with you?

  85. #85 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    45 in your delusions, methane. And why do you keep using the figure of 200?

    Shall I name the known dwarf planets to you like Santa’s reindeer?

    Ceres, Pluto, Charon, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris. You could also list the moons as satellite dwarf planets like Luna and Triton, Ganymede, et cetera. It does not come close to 45. What comic book did you find that figure in?

  86. #86 Mike Wrathell
    December 2, 2013

    Do you know what the word “known” means? Maybe that is your current problem.

  87. #87 StevoR
    December 3, 2013

    @16. Wow :

    “Beyond the frost line is where worlds like Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto formed. So, if we make that our divide then why count Jupiter and Neptune but not Pluto?” -StevoR

    It’s explained in the ATL text, Steve. Did you read it?

    Yes I did indeed. Doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with what I read though.

    “The frost line is not “the end of the planets”, it’s the end of the small rocky ones. Because past that point, water, the most common molecule in a protoplanetary disk, can stop around for a bit and be picked up and, being far more common than silicon et al, that means a lot more mass.”

    Yes.

    And?

    The way planets form is fascinating – but it is NOT definitive.

    Why the blazes should it be?

    Is a person no longer a person if they were born by IVF or caesarian section versus “natural” birth?*

    is a plant not a plant if it grows from cuttings instead of seed?

    Course not!

    Why then should a planet be a non–planet just because it formed beyond a certain distance?

    Answer : It shouldn’t.

    Besides how do we know or sure that Mars or even Earth and Venus didn’t start forming beyond the frostline and subsequently migrate inwards?

    *Well, okay, it worked for MacDuff in the Scottish play and Eowyn in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ but that’s another two stories entirely! Besides Eowyn and MacDuff are definitely still classed as human / people / animals too.

  88. #88 StevoR
    December 3, 2013

    @86. Mike Wrathell : “Do you (Wow) know what the word “known” means? Maybe that is your current problem.”

    I would guess that “Wow” has a lot of problems – her / his trolling here being just one of them.

    Did Wow eventually ever actually answer my questions on the other ‘Triton Kuiper King’ thread or elsewhere btw? Must go take a look I ‘spose.

    Oh & Wow for the record – the number of currently known dwarf planets larger than Pluto is zero. Eris is about the same size and just a smidgin more massive. Makemake, Haumea, Sedna and others are smaller and the number of ice dwarfs currently known is from my memory much closer to fifty than two hundred. Not that it really matters anyhow.

    Note : there are thousands of confirmed Jupiter mass & gas giant planets in the Milky Way and beyond. That sure doesn’t stop them being classified as planets. So then why should knowing about however many more ice dwarf planets make them any less planets either?

    Hint : Trick question – it shouldn’t. There are thousands of exo-Jupiters and maybe hundreds of intra-Plutos and all of them are still properly considered planets given a reasonable (i.e. not the IAU’s!) definition of the word.

  89. #89 StevoR
    December 3, 2013

    @45. Chris’ Wills : Yes. Exactly. Seconded. Hundred percent.

    @62. Wow : “Yet you still whine and bitch that your definition isn’t taken when EVEN YOU don’t know what it is.

    Among others, I have already suggested what my preferred definition of planet is and it is far superior to the IAU’s ridiculous one.

    Again, a planet in my view is gravitationally rounded, so not an asteroid or comet nucleus, not self-luminous by nuclear fusion hence not a star and not directly orbiting another planet so not a moon – three straightforward, decisive tests.

    I’ve also noted that other alternative definitions exist that would also count Pluto as a planet such as Ken Croswell’s here :

    http://kencroswell.com/NinthRockFromTheSun.html

    (Read that link yet, Wow? No? Refusing to look at evidence and arguments disagreeing with yours still Troll?)

    So, that falsifies that rude and erroneous assertion of yours right there, Wow.

    @51. dean :

    ““Clearing the orbit” does not mean there are no other objects in the orbit: it means that the body is large enough, with enough of a gravitational field, so that if other bodies are in the orbit they are deflected or pulled in: either way, they do not exert noticeable influence on the larger object’s path. Those other objects do not influence Earth’s movement: not so with the smaller bodies.”

    Actually those bodies *do* influence earth’s orbit just relatively slightly. hence gravitational boosts. Yes the extent of the gravitational influence (perturbation) depends on a few other factors such as closeness of approach and velocity of the encounter but still there certainly is an effect.

    So where do you draw the line? Who decides it and what if objects and cases that are right on that line?

    Oh & where did you get that idea from that “clear” is exactly what you said as opposed to other ideas of what it means?

    The fact that the IAU definition raises the needless superfluous* question of what “clear” actually even means is a major point against it given the key scientific principle of Occam’s razor.

    * Yes I know that is a tautology. It is also deliberate emphasis.

  90. #90 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    Really? The majority of the 424 IAU members who voted on the planet definition are NOT planetary scientists but other types of astronomers.

    And since the planetary scientist is working on the earth, not alien planets, meanwhile those planets are astronomical objects, and moreover this is an astronomical definition not a geographical one, the IAU members were field experts to judge.

    Meanwhile you don’t even know about the planets you’re wibbling on about other than their names. See #64.

    The reason I noted that Earth has more in common with Pluto than with Jupiter is to show the weakness of the IAU definition

    Except as shown in #69, that statement is wrong and you only bring it up to “support” your complaint, but that statement, being false, does not support your complaint being valid.

    Asteroids are rubble piles loosely held together and shaped by their chemical bonds.

    Asteroids are rocky bodies. According to what you claim to be the geophysical definition of a planet, that counts as a planet. NOTHING about “rubble piles”.

    Oh, and the chemical bonds do not hold the piles of rubble together. It seems like you don’t know even the basic science and refuse to let your ignorance impede your insistence.

    Charon is believed by scientists to have formed when a proto-planet smashed into proto-Pluto early in the solar system’s history

    No, Charon was assumed to be caught like Pluto was into a resonant circuit with Neptune as a kuiper belt object.

    First, this is a scientific debate>/blockquote>

    Not the way you do it. You have to have actual scientific knowledge and you don’t care for that: you make up sciencey claims and don’t really sweat actually knowing what the science is. See above.

    debates are constantly reshaped as new and better information becomes available

    Which is why the geophysical definition of a planet was abandoned: the better information showed that the definition was not capable of the job of defining planet status.

    That’s why it took 10 days to come to the state where there was a proposal to vote on.

    Four percent of the IAU voted on the 2006 resolution

    100% were invited to. Not voting means that you don’t really have anything to say and defer to those who do. So yet another non-problem.

    Ninety-six percent of IAU members couldn’t vote because they weren’t in the room on a particular day

    If they’d wanted to vote, they could. They didn’t. And therefore didn’t stay. Yet more non-problem.

    one man who did vote asked for Pluto to be put back on the list of planets

    Yup, unanimity isn’t required in ANY democratic process. Another non-problem.

    He was told by Jocelyn Bell Burnell that it was too late; the resolution had already been adopted

    Yup. And when the “wrong pary” wins an election you have to either get enough votes to get a new election or wait until the next election to change it. You don’t get as a single person to whine and demand that the voters got the wrong answer and they have to do it again. Well you do, but you deserve being told “too late”.

    Yet another non problem.

    “Ah, that answers my question: no, you don’t know anything about pluto.”
    I know Pluto is NOT an asteroid.

    Ah, I see. You can’t read either.

  91. #91 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    And why do you keep using the figure of 200?

    Because it’s the right one.

  92. #92 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    Pluto is estimated to be 70 percent rock

    Nope.

    It’s estimated to be 50-70% rock by mass.

    By volume, it’s mostly (50-80%) ice.

  93. #93 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “Do you know what the word “known” means?”

    Yes.

  94. #94 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    Shall I name the known dwarf planets to you like Santa’s reindeer?

    Ceres, Pluto, Charon, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris

    Uh, that’s only 6.

    There are 45 known.

    Another about 200 known candidates who may turn out to be dwarf, most of which *will* be dwarf.

  95. #95 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    Yes I did indeed. Doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with what I read though.

    But disagreeing with it doesn’t mean you can pretend it never said what it said, Steve. Yet you pretend it says other than it does and whine about this “strawman” post.

    Disagreeing with it doesn’t mean you get to make up what it says.

  96. #96 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    Is a person no longer a person if they were born by IVF or caesarian section versus “natural” birth?*

    They aren’t planets. No matter how they’re born.

    is a plant not a plant if it grows from cuttings instead of seed?”

    They aren’t planets, no matter how they’re germinated.

    Why then should a planet be a non–planet just because it formed beyond a certain distance?

    That isn’t in the definition of a planet. See above for how you don’t get to make up a strawman merely because you disagree with what was said.

    Note : there are thousands of confirmed Jupiter mass & gas giant planets in the Milky Way and beyond.

    NOTE: The English alphabet has 26 letters.

  97. #97 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “I would guess that “Wow” has a lot of problems – her / his trolling here being just one of them. ”

    Nope, I have a lot of idiots to combat, but that’s barely a problem.

    PS the definition of troll isn’t “Won’t let me win an argument”.

  98. #98 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “@45. Chris’ Wills : Yes. Exactly. Seconded. Hundred percent.”

    Oh indeedy, they do have trojans.

    However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t planets.

    So if that was the bit you were 100% agreeing with, then you’re 100% wrong.

  99. #99 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “the number of currently known dwarf planets larger than Pluto is zero”

    WRONG.

  100. #100 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    6 is a handful. Perhaps there are 39 possible candidates, but only 6 are dwarf planets as of this day. Sedna is not a dwarf planet. We don’t have enough data on it. Maybe Putin can send you there to report back on it.

  101. #101 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    Eris is smaller than Pluto. Therefore, Pluto is the largest known dwarf planet. Sicardy said so.

  102. #102 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    methane, if you aren’t a troll, why do you live under a bridge?

  103. #103 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “6 is a handful.”

    Indeed it is.

    45 is not.

  104. #104 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “Eris is smaller than Pluto.”

    Proof required, pls.

  105. #105 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    mike, if you’re not an ignorant twat, why do you post like one?

  106. #106 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 3, 2013

    This discussion is getting heated, but what’s it all about anyway.

    If there’s one thing clearly shown is image no.8 (mass/density graph) is that there is no real way of distinguishing between objects in Sun’s orbit. It isn’t about size or mass or orbit only, it’s just terminology. If Europa i.e. was in it’s own orbit between Mars and Jupiter, it would be classified as a planet. Since it’s not, it’s Jupiter’s moon. If Pluto was i.e. the size of Earth or bigger, regardless how far it was, it would still be a planet in classification. Doesn’t really have to do with science per say.. it’s our own conventions. That simple.

    I do agree however with those who think that the whole classification system should be perhaps a bit more scientific. It is a somewhat arbitrary at the moment IMO. But at the end of the day it’s just classification, people. You are arguing about if the line should have been drawn 2 cm lower, without any real reason.

    Is same as arguing if one species of flowers should be categorized under rose family or tulip family… irrelevant really, as long as it’s there for everyone to see and admire :)

  107. #107 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “I do agree however with those who think that the whole classification system should be perhaps a bit more scientific”

    It is scientific.

    What is non scientific about it?

    The definition is based on measureable features of the bodies that do not rely on earthican-biased presumptions and also are observable characteristics of the body that can be measured and tested.

    It IS scientific.

  108. #108 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    I agree that non-planethood has NO BEARING *WHATSOEVER* on whether Pluto is a worthy body in the solar system for scientific and astronomic review.

  109. #109 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    See Bruno Sicardy’s paper on the occultation of Eris. What’s it like to live under a bridge?

  110. #110 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    Sinisa

    Nice sentiment, but injustice is injustice.

  111. #111 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “See Bruno Sicardy’s paper on the occultation of Eris.”

    See Pons and Fleischmann’s paper on Cold Fusion.

  112. #112 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “but injustice is injustice.”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  113. #113 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    Why?

  114. #114 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    Why not?

  115. #115 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 3, 2013

    @ Wow

    I didn’t say it’s not scientific. I said IMO should be MORE scientific as is now IMO a bit arbitrary.
    At the moment we chose between 4, 8 or 200, depending on what to include/exclude in the definition. We chose 8. I would also choose 8 over 200. Like I said.. it’s classification. And all is good until one day we’ll find solar systems with perhaps 40-50 bodies in our definition of planet. And then we’ll change the definition again probably to keep to some managable number. Will our definition be based on science… of course. But still it has a lot to do with us ourselves. So it’s 50% social as well as 50% science.

    @ Mike

    sorry but I see no justice or injustice in all of this. Justice is a human notion, and since no human has been affected or harmed by this, what is the injustice? If someone i.e. owned a piece of land on Pluto and by demoting it to dwarf status lowered the land value, then you would have something to argue about. I can understand your sentimental attachment to Pluto… but that has nothing to do with justice or law or moral values.

  116. #116 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “I didn’t say it’s not scientific. I said IMO should be MORE scientific”

    So I need a wetter glass of water to drink?

    Sorry, unless you’re claiming the definition isn’t scientific, you’re going to have to explain what “MORE scientific” means.

    “At the moment we chose between 4, 8 or 200, depending on what to include/exclude in the definition.”

    Nope.

    We choose the current definition because that keeps the definition useful to us.

    We chose not to use a different definition because that definition would include so many objects in our own system that the definition becomes useless.

    The current definition is the most scientific one.

    “We chose 8. I would also choose 8 over 200. Like I said.. it’s classification”

    And the choice WAS NOT “Lets have 8″. It was “What definition works to keep the number of planets found by the definition useful”.

    If we’d chosen “Lets make it these 8″ then that would be unscientific and tautological to boot.

    THAT WAS NOT THE DEFINITION.

  117. #117 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    If Pluto had not been waay out there beyond the frost line, it would likely have been lighter than Ceres.

  118. #118 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 3, 2013

    @ Wow
    more scientific in order to give a precise answer to a following question:
    - if an object of Mercury size was found beyond Neptune with cleared orbit, would it be classified as a planet? I think it would. That’s our current definition. It is based on our solar system. What about if it’s was 0.98 size of Mercury.. or 0.995.. where do you draw a line? In other words we use the sizes of our own planets. When we discover more and more of smaller planets in other solar systems, I’m pretty sure the definition will change. But not because science changed or some universal things. We changed. Thus, like I said before, it’s 50% social.

    You yourself wrote: “We chose not to use a different definition because that definition would include so many objects in our own system that the definition becomes useless.”… And I agree with this 100%. Just this is not science.. this is social. And there is nothing wrong with it. That is what I meant by arbitrary. If we as a society were a bit dumber we would choose the definition that gives only 4. If our brains were more of a chess type, we would love the definition that has 200 items. I don’t consider that 100% scientific.

  119. #119 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “- if an object of Mercury size was found beyond Neptune with cleared orbit, would it be classified as a planet? I think it would.”

    Yes, it would.

    “It is based on our solar system”

    Only because you’ve questioned about a planet in our solar system. That’s the only place you find Neptune. I.e. you’re wrong because you’re creating a tautological strawman.

    If a planet the size of mercury were found around Barnard’s Star more than 27AU from that star and had cleared its orbit, it would also be a planet by the definition.

    AND NONE OF THAT IS BASED ON OUR SOLAR SYSTEM.

  120. #120 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    ” What about if it’s was 0.98 size of Mercury.. or 0.995.. where do you draw a line?”

    Where it is not massive enough to attain a near-spherical shape.

    Which YET AGAIN has fuck all to do with our solar system and is ONLY about the physical characteristics of the body in question.

  121. #121 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “You yourself wrote: “We chose not to use a different definition because that definition would include so many objects in our own system that the definition becomes useless.”… And I agree with this 100%. Just this is not science..”

    WRONG.

    IT IS SCIENCE.

    Science is the useful description of the reality we see around us, which is why, for example, “supernatural” claims or other claims that are inherently untestable are not scientific: they can produce no useful conclusion.

  122. #122 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “In other words we use the sizes of our own planets”

    Yeah, you’re a moron.

    Look, if you don’t like that PERFECTLY DESERVED label, here’s a tip: learn what the fuck you’re talking about BEFORE you type that crap out, M’kay?

    In other words: your claim is aberrantly and monstrously wrong.

  123. #123 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    If Pluto, or any of those other dwarf planets, had been in an orbit cleared of any other major influencing body, THEY WOULD BE PLANETS.

    If the earth, despite being much bigger than pluto, were in the EXACT SAME ORBIT, not merely “beyond Neptune”, then the earth would be a dwarf planet.

    Before complaining about the arbitrary nature of the definition, LEARN THE FRIGGING DEFINITION.

  124. #124 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 3, 2013

    jeez man.. take a pill.. you’ll get a heart attack

  125. #125 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    Nope, your fake concern is noted and discarded for the passive aggressive bullshit it is.

    How about, instead of fake concern for a strawman attribution of me to attack, you decide to actually take some time to inform yourself BEFORE you spout yet more uninformed “opinion” on this thread?

    After all, this should be a learning experience for you, and I want you to learn as much as you can.

  126. #126 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 3, 2013

    Sinisa

    The way in which Pluto was demoted by the IAU by ramrodding was very unjust and political. It had nothing to do with science. The definition was designed with the specific intent to demote Pluto and the by-laws of the IAU were not followed so that only lackeys of the the Executive Committee’s cabal to demote Pluto were aware of what was going to go down. The few rational people who realized Pluto is and always will be a planet were grossly outnumbered as a result of this injustice.

    Of course, to convince methane (Wow) of this would be like trying to convince him that living under a bridge is not the best abode for a human being. But, what the Hell, he likes living under a bridge, troll that he is, and who am I to judge?

  127. #127 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    methane

    you have called me every name in the book, can’t take the heat, huh? no wonder you live under a bridge…..those cool winds, huh? maybe i should try it sometime…..

  128. #128 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “The way in which Pluto was demoted by the IAU by ramrodding was very unjust”

    No ramrodding happened, mikey.

    You lost. That’s all.

  129. #129 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    ” can’t take the heat, huh”

    It’s a comfortable 20C.

  130. #130 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    What is your source that says there are 45 known dwarf planets? Superman? Krypton is not in our solar system, methane, and it blew up a long time ago.

  131. #131 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    methane”

    Irony:

    “you have called me every name in the book, can’t take the heat, huh?”

  132. #132 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “What is your source that says there are 45 known dwarf planets?”

    Astronomers.

  133. #133 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    They are unpublished amateurs?

  134. #134 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    They are not recognized. It’s just an urban myth.

  135. #135 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    Lost only due to ramrodding. The vote was a joke. You just choose to deny the facts.

  136. #136 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    “They are unpublished amateurs?”

    No.

    “Lost only due to ramrodding.”

    No, lost due to being wrong.

  137. #137 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    Let me know when the IAU confirms them. Urban legends don’t count. Nameless myths.

  138. #138 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    Ah, so you believe the IAU when it comes to what’s a Dwarf Planet, but not when it comes to what’s a Dwarf Planet…

    How does that work, mikey?

  139. #139 Wow
    December 3, 2013

    PS When the IAU say that Pluto is bigger than Eris, get back to me on which is the biggest.

  140. #140 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    Not much choice there, methane.

    Never heard of Bruno Sicardy?

  141. #141 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    No disrespect to amateur astronomers. The point being these 39 or so so-called dwarf planets out there have not been confirmed by the IAU which is the only international body that names things and confirms discoveries. So to speak of them as if they are a done deal is premature. Furthermore, to throw out the 200 figure is even more premature. It seems like a red herring, but, at best, it is speculation of some sort, based on what, probability? Is that what planetary science has come to?

    I can do probability, too. I think it is probable, that you, methane, will be flying off the handle in the next 48 hours and making a troll of yourself once again.

    But, maybe not. Probability is not my forte.

  142. #142 Jan Vones
    December 3, 2013

    Boo! Hiss!

    Until you want to start insisting that dwarf humans aren’t actually humans, I think you should admit that dwarf planets are planets.

    What we need are better categories, like
    (1) Terrestrial Planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth & Mars
    (2) Gas Giants: Jupiter & Saturn
    (3) Ice Giants: Uranus & Neptune
    (4) Hadean Planets: Pluto, etc.

    That’s a lot more informative than making the silly claim a hydrostatically stable body orbiting the sun is not a planet.

  143. #143 Alan D McIntire
    December 3, 2013

    There’s no point in arguing this issue- you’re arguing arbitrary definitions.

    There can even be confusion and argument as to what constitutes a star- If it’s massive enough to fuse Hydrogen into Helium, there’s no question, but what about brown dwarfs that can fuse lithium only?

  144. #144 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    Let them be stars, too. Otherwise, they might get a complex.

  145. #145 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    You said it, Jan!

  146. #146 Antonio Alvarez
    New York
    December 3, 2013

    Since many scientists go by ” Size does Matter ” than Titan should be called a planet.

  147. #147 Adam Evenson
    Southern Alabama
    December 3, 2013

    I love how distracted human beings are that distraction divorces them from what they actually are. Even the ugliest things have an intricate aspect of beauty and grandeur, however, and although distraction disgusts me, it turns out beautiful. (I would knock a psychiatrist cold with that punch. Ha, ha, ha.) This is coming from a non-human being, by the way, which is what I am. Every intelligence that is looking at this situation IS the situation. DUH! One IS the thing(s) one is looking at, perceiving and interacting with, the same as one is the perceiver/actor. The words of the article speak of elemental energies forming form itself, and I laugh constantly that human intelligence generally posits that primate intelligence is the only possibility in the vastness of space that harbors a superior form of intelligence. Read my lips: superior intelligence is everywhere and in all things. It’s Omnipresent. Just because one may not be intelligent enough to perceive particular kinds of intelligence “out there,” does not mean that intelligence is not “out there.” Kapish? Thus, quit being so distracted that you don’t know who/what you are. It entertains me too much! I laugh involuntarily. And that distracts me! You may have an infectious disease, and giving it to me, which threatens to turn me into the same thing(s) you are. But hell, on second thought, do whatever you will, and I will simply respond if it hits me just right. If not, I’ll remain disappeared and nobody will know I’m here. Chances are, most of my responses will be mirthful, though, because I think your condition is comedic, even though it may seem as much as life-threatening to you-all. I am laughing at you. Ha, ha, ha. This is not cruelty. My laughter is moved 100% by nature, and nature is not cruel. Part of why I laugh at human gesticulations/foibles is because of the posturing that creates such widely divergent contrasts between fantasy and reality that it just cracks me up. Nothing is more vital than I am, for instance, yet virtually everything I come across says that there is plenty more vital than I. What said things are doing is denying their own existence and it has nothing to do with me. There is no way I can deny my existence. It’s as close to me as the nose on my face. Yes, I have a nose on my face. Doesn’t everything? Ha, ha, ha. If not, I just have it become that way, only for me, because I like me. Even more, I love me. So, all you humans as would like to dot so, go ahead and deny your existence, and I’ll simply continue affirming mine until what, hell freezes over? Ha, ha, ha.

  148. #148 wally58
    December 3, 2013

    Earth was a captured COMET along with the other inner rocky planets. As ” high-falutin” as this presentation looks and sounds, it’s not necessarily correct. After all, animated charts and slick illustrations don’t prove anything. Even I could pay someone to make a cartoon where Bluetoe kicks Popeye’s ass and mops the street with his head, no matter how many cans of spinach he eats.

    Ole Velikovsky was right about many things. Yes, he made some errors too, but who hasn’t? Even the iconic Jew, Einstein, made a few boners along his way.

  149. #149 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    December 3, 2013

    “We chose 8.”

    No, WE didn’t choose 8. The astronomers of the world didn’t choose 8. A total of 333 of the 424 people in a room in Prague, who had already violated their own bylaws by bringing a last minute resolution before the General Assembly without first vetting it by the appropriate committee chose 8. And an equal number of professional astronomers signed a petition rejecting that choice. Most IAU members cannot afford to attend the whole conference or even part of the conference. Those that left early were misled into believing a different resolution, the one put forward by the IAU’s own committee, would be voted on. Dr. Owen Gingerich, who headed that committee, said in retrospect that had he known the General Assembly would vote on a different resolution thrown together at the last minute, he would have changed his plans to leave early. He didn’t know because this last minute change was an act of subterfuge by a tiny group that wanted to get their way.

    What kind of scientific organization does not allow electronic voting? These astronomers write complex computer models; certainly one of them could create a secure electronic voting method so that those who couldn’t attend the General Assembly could still vote.

    It isn’t 4, 8, or 200 planets. At the moment, it’s four (terrestrials) plus four (jovians) plus more (dwarf planets). The number of dwarf planets, like the number of exoplanets, is likely to remain in flux for a long time as new objects are discovered.

  150. #150 Laurel Kornfeld
    HIghland Park, NJ
    December 3, 2013

    It is an injustice to mislead people into believing that a politically-motivated decision constitutes science. It is also an injustice to the general public to present only one side of an ongoing debate as fact when this is not the case.

  151. #151 Mike Wrathell
    December 3, 2013

    All I got right now to add is that I am going with the solid count on dwarf planets. As they are confirmed by the IAU, my count will go up one at a time. There “may” be 200. There “may” be 300 or 400 or 433 in our solar system. But, a dwarf planet in the hand is worth two in the Oort Cloud or the Scattered Disk.

  152. #152 usor
    December 4, 2013

    Pluto, the ninth planet, in name.

  153. #153 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    “All I got right now to add is that I am going with the solid count on dwarf planets”

    Except that isn’t the solid count of Dwarf Planets. That is the list of named dwarf planets. The IAU has a comittee to name them.

    Pluto is a Dwarf Planet by the same people you are insisting are the sole authoritative source on what is a Dwarf Planet.

  154. #154 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    “No, WE didn’t choose 8.”

    Right, for entirely the wrong reasons, dear.

  155. #155 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    “Earth was a captured COMET”

    No it wasn’t.

  156. #156 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    “Since many scientists go by ” Size does Matter ” than Titan should be called a planet”

    No.

    1) “many” isn’t shown to be a valid reason for this assertion
    2) “many” isn’t shown as being true in itself
    3) Titan is a moon, not a planet

    The Geophysical definition WOULD make Titan a planet.

    It would make our moon a planet.

    They are not.

    So the definition cannot be the Geophysical one.

    The definition is the one given by the IAU.

  157. #157 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    “There’s no point in arguing this issue- you’re arguing arbitrary definitions.”

    Actually, Mike and the other morons aren’t arguing even that.

    They don’t even know the definition they propose, only that it keeps pluto as a planet.

  158. #158 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    “Until you want to start insisting that dwarf humans aren’t actually humans”

    Why?

    Planets aren’t human.

  159. #159 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    “The point being these 39 or so so-called dwarf planets out there have not been confirmed by the IAU which is the only international body that names things and confirms discoveries.”

    NOT BEEN NAMED by the IAU.

    And they define Pluto as a Dwarf planet and NOT a planet.

  160. #160 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    “There’s no point in arguing this issue- you’re arguing arbitrary definitions.”

    By the way, ALL definitions are, definitionally, arbitrary.

    If it were not, there would be only one language.

  161. #161 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    Jan,

    Protoplanetary disks are the pre-formed planet. Are we to call them “planet babies”?

    The spilling of toxic chemicals and abuse of the planetary resources is abuse of planets, so should that be considered similar to child abuse?

    We don’t pay the planet for the work it does. Is that slavery?

    Or are all those ridiculous, because planets aren’t humans?

  162. #162 Mike Wrathell
    December 4, 2013

    I know the geo def, methane. The unnamed dwarfs are also unconfirmed. Why are you such a cantankerous asshat?

  163. #163 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    “I know the geo def”

    No you don’t you moronic piece of shit.

  164. #164 Mike Wrathell
    December 4, 2013

    You can go the other room now, you worthless dipshit. No one wants you here. You are a smelly, cantankerous cretin.

  165. #165 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    Sorry, was this your blog, dear?

  166. #166 Mike Wrathell
    December 4, 2013

    See ya!

  167. #167 Wow
    December 4, 2013

    Bye!

  168. #168 Americanegro
    December 4, 2013

    When they originally made Pluto not-a-planet, the rationale was that its orbit intrudes on that of the next planet in, which seems good enough to me, but doesn’t provide an opportunity to augment the C.V. like this article did.

  169. #169 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    December 4, 2013

    No one said the IAU has to confirm the unnamed dwarf planets for them to be considered dwarf planets. What is needed, at least according to the geophysical planet definition, is sufficient observation to determine that these worlds are in hydrostatic equilibrium. In some cases, such as that of Sedna, there is uncertainty because the objects are so far away. If there is conclusive evidence an object is in hydrostatic equilibrium, then it is a dwarf planet, regardless of what the IAU says or doesn’t say.

    On several occasions, I have observed elementary school teachers adopting the term “baby planets” to refer to the dwarf planets. Why not?

    We do in fact enslave and abuse the Earth via pollution and a factory model that insists on ever-increasing yields with no rest period. That isn’t how the Earth works, and it risks depleting our soil and turning fertile areas into deserts. This has happened before. Humanity’s current interaction with this planet is extremely dysfunctional and leading towards a mass extinction and a harsher climate for most of the planet.

  170. #170 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 4, 2013

    Technically, you are right, of course, Laurel. But I do not want Pluto, or any other dwarf planet to have an asterisk after it. Oh, we have 8 planets, and then there is Pluto*.

    In a perfect world, the IAU would do its job and there would be no need for you to mention a possible need for a new international astronomical body.

    Anyway, how many dwarf planets are there besides the 6 the IAU has confirmed in your estimation? Wow, aka “methane,” says there are 39 or so more. I did not think Sedna was a dwarf planet. I think the same problems Sedna has would also plague the other candidates, otherwise, the IAU would have confirmed them.

  171. #171 Mike Wrathell
    December 4, 2013

    “What have we done to the Earth? What have we done to our fair sister?”

    ~~~~~Jim Morisson of The Doors

  172. #172 Mike Wrathell
    Earth
    December 4, 2013

    “What have they done to the earth?
    What have they done to our fair sister?
    Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
    Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
    And tied her with fences and dragged her down….”

    “When The Music’s Over” by The Doors

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSMAWh6vnXo

  173. #173 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    “No one said the IAU has to confirm the unnamed dwarf planets for them to be considered dwarf planets. ”

    You mean nobody but mikey here.

    Or are you calling him nobody?

  174. #174 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    2But I do not want Pluto, or any other dwarf planet to have an asterisk after it. Oh, we have 8 planets, and then there is Pluto*.”

    So make it

    We have 8 planets.

    That is truth. And no asterisk.

    PS I thought you were buggering off. Again.

  175. #175 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    “On several occasions, I have observed elementary school teachers adopting the term “baby planets” to refer to the dwarf planets. Why not?”

    Because people will then complain about child abuse when we send probes to impact on these babies.

    And I was talking about the protoplanetary disk, not the dwarfs.

  176. #176 StevoR
    December 5, 2013

    Bloody hell Wow, bro, you still trolling this thread and topic?

  177. #177 StevoR
    December 5, 2013

    @95. Wow (3rd December , 2013) :

    “Yes I did indeed. Doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with what I read though.”-StevoR

    But disagreeing with it doesn’t mean you can pretend it never said what it said, Steve. Yet you pretend it says other than it does and whine about this “strawman” post.

    Wrong as usual Wow. I’m well aware of what Ethan wrote, I just don’t agree with it for thee reasons I’ve already explained.

    “Disagreeing with it doesn’t mean you get to make up what it says.”

    Funny coming from you given that’s all you ever seem to do.

    Also again complete misrepresentation of what I’ve said as I’ve come to expect from you bro.

  178. #178 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    ” I’m well aware of what Ethan wrote”

    Oh, OK, you’re ignoring what Ethan wrote and making up a strawman to attack, then.

    Is this better or worse?

    “Funny coming from you given that’s all you ever seem to do. ”

    Yeah, a citation on that would be handy, dear.

  179. #179 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    Irony:

    #176 StevoR
    December 5, 2013

    Bloody hell Wow, bro, you still trolling this thread and topic?

  180. #180 StevoR
    December 5, 2013

    @106. Sinisa Lazarek :

    “Is same as arguing if one species of flowers should be categorized under rose family or tulip family… irrelevant really, as long as it’s there for everyone to see and admire :)

    Except we’re at a level much more basic than the equivalent of the species /genus divide. This is more like arguing whether roses are animal mineral or vegetable!

    Clearly they’re vegetable just as Pluto is clearly a planet not a star or asteroid! Saying otherwise is just, silly, really.

    @99. Wow :

    “the number of currently known dwarf planets larger than Pluto is zero”
    WRONG.

    Shouting in all caps doesn’t make you right y’know, Wow – it is you who is wrong in your unsupported deliberately provocatively rude assertions as per usual.

    Eris is about the same size as Pluto in radius, slightly but not very much more massive.

    So yeah, the number is zero or maybe just one depending on how you define “larger”.

    Certainly there is no other ice dwarf that is significantly larger than Pluto in both size and mass yet discovered. After a long period of searching we haven’t even added any extra ones the same size as Pluto suggesting objects its size are still relatively rare.

    @132. Wow :

    “What is your source that says there are 45 known dwarf planets?”
    Astronomers.

    Really? Which astronomers exactly? Citation very much needed.

    @142. Jan Vones :

    “Until you want to start insisting that dwarf humans aren’t actually humans, I think you should admit that dwarf planets are planets.

    What we need are better categories, like
    (1) Terrestrial Planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth & Mars
    (2) Gas Giants: Jupiter & Saturn
    (3) Ice Giants: Uranus & Neptune
    (4) Hadean Planets: Pluto, etc.

    That’s a lot more informative than making the silly claim a hydrostatically stable body orbiting the sun is not a planet.”

    Exactly!

    Informally, we already have divisions amongst planets both in our solar system and beyond based on their size, orbits and compositions.

    The IAU definition, incidentally, in a further example of its idiocy and uselessness rules out planets beyond our solar system altogether – a ruling that is, of course, appropriately ignored by almost everyone when talking about planets outside our systems showing just how wrong the IAU definition actually is.

    To be scientifically useful a definition needs to be applied to new and unknown cases and help work out what object X gets classified as. Starting with must orbit only our star out of the billions around shows a pathetic lack of imagination and sets up a ridiculously narrow limit.

    For broad categories such as planets (or animal or plant or mineral categories) a definition really needs to be much more inclusive than the opposite.

    @ 158. Wow :

    “Until you want to start insisting that dwarf humans aren’t actually humans”
    Why? Planets aren’t human

    I’m beginning to wonder if you are human, frankly, Wow.

    To miss the point by such a colossal margin and fail to grasp what is meant by an analogy almost suggests you’re some kind of spambot rather than just a particularly willfully obtuse or contrary troll.

    No planets aren’t people -but dwrafs of class X are all still consistently included in categories of object X. Being a small example of something doens’t mean that something isn’t something.

    But then you really know that very well and are just posting here to irritate the rest of the people here aren’t you, Wow?

  181. #181 StevoR
    December 5, 2013

    @178. Wow : people can actually scroll up this thread and see what you and I and others have posted Wow. That’s your citation.

    Or maybe just one of them.

  182. #182 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    ““the number of currently known dwarf planets larger than Pluto is zero”
    WRONG.

    Shouting in all caps doesn’t make you right y’know”

    However, typing in caps makes the word easier to read.

    And being right is what makes me right in this case, you know.

  183. #183 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    Eris is about the same size as Pluto in radius, slightly but not very much more massive.

    Neither of which was the claim that I said was WRONG. So irrelevant. Making a statement never made as if it were some form of referral to a previous statement is called lying, steve.

    It’s naughty. Stop.

    What is your source that says there are 45 known dwarf planets?”
    Astronomers.

    Really? Which astronomers exactly?

    Just fucking google it, moron.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_possible_dwarf_planets

    Informally, we already have divisions amongst planets both in our solar system and beyond based on their size, orbits and compositions.

    Formally, we have planets. 8 of them. And many Dwarf Planets of which Pluto is one.

    Apparently, this is not allowed to stand, however.

    “EXACTLY!”.

    To be scientifically useful a definition needs to be applied to new and unknown cases and help work out what object X gets classified as.

    Which is why the geophysical defition fell down. Why the definition the IAU gives was accepted by those able to test whether the definition met those criteria.

    But you refuse to accept those criteria unless it lets Pluto be a planet.

    “EXACTLY!”

    To miss the point by such a colossal margin

    There was no point. Only rhetorical shiboleths of the whiney bunch.

    Dwarf planets are not planets.

    Dwarfism in humans is not a case of a human not clearing its orbit.

    End of.

    -but dwrafs of class X are all still consistently included in categories of object X.

    Not dwarf planets.

    The definition of dwarf does not require your assertion. You will be 100% incapable of accepting this, despite absolutely no ability to locate a citation proving otherwise.

    Why?

    Because you’re a moron.

  184. #184 StevoR
    December 5, 2013

    @168. Americanegro :

    “When they originally made Pluto not-a-planet, the rationale was that its orbit intrudes on that of the next planet in, which seems good enough to me, but doesn’t provide an opportunity to augment the C.V. like this article did.”

    Actually it was known almost from the start that Pluto’s orbit crossed that of Neptunes leading to speculation for a while that Pluto was in fact an escaped moon of Neptunes. This oddity was not considered cause for removing Pluto’s status at the time.

    Nor is planets having crossing orbits considered valid cause for removing them from the planets category now because for example we know of at least one exoplanetary system, HD 45364 b & c where two gas giant worlds have a similar situation to the that of Neptune and Pluto and both worlds are acknowledged as planets -see :

    http://kencroswell.com/HD45364.html

    The main “reason” people seem to have for removing Pluto’s planetary status seems to be because there are a number of similar worlds nearby that are almost or in the case of Eris pretty much exactly as big as Pluto.

    Funnily enough, we don’t consider this cause for removing the planetary status of gas giants or rock dwarfs like Jupiter and Earth from planetary status when they too have similar worlds in their respective “zones” of our solar system. Although admittedly there are only three other examples of each as opposed to ten – perhaps fifty or more such worlds for the ice dwarf class of planet.

    But still. It seems a matter of degree and principle here.

    Having similar worlds nearby whether on crossing orbits or not shouldn’t define when something is a planet any more than having similar animals of the same species nearby makes an individual animal not an animal.

    This for “Wow”s benefit is an analogy NOT a claim that planets are animals. I’ll spell it out for the troll here :

    We don’t say Earth isn’t a planet even though it has Venus in a very close – especially as seen from the outer solar system – orbit nearby and these worlds have almost identical properties in many respects. (Eg. mass and diameter.)

    We don’t say Neptune isn’t a planet even though it has Uranus in a similar orbit nearby and these worlds have almost identical properties in many respects. ( Indeed Neptune is physically smaller but more massive than Uranus so the question of which of those is”bigger” depends on what is meant!)

    Therefore being consistent we have also surely got to say that we can’t say Pluto isn’t a planet even though it has Eris nearby and these worlds have almost identical properties in many respects. (eg. mass and diameter.)

    IOW, having similar worlds nearby doesn’t stop a planet from being a planet which seems to be the main “argument” for removing Pluto’s planetary status.

    The only difference is that there are more similar worlds like Pluto than there are like Earth and Neptune but this is not,I think, good or sufficient cause for reclassification because its just a degree in number not a fundamental property or definitional problem. It doesn’t really matter because for example if we had ten Earths nearby we may describe our space as being crowded with earth-like planets but we’d hardly say they were all therefore asteroids instead!

  185. #185 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    “Actually it was known almost from the start that Pluto’s orbit crossed that of Neptunes leading to speculation for a while that Pluto was in fact an escaped moon of Neptunes. This oddity was not considered cause for removing Pluto’s status at the time.”

    It was thought that Pluto was much more massive, and it was the great mass of the presumed pluto that made it a “Planet”.

    Moreover, the larger asteroids were likewise not known to have a co-habiting cloud of other similar bodies, later called the asteroid belt. However, on finding one, that became the reason to change the (currently 23) planets back to 8. Nobody complained.

    But Pluto, being found smaller than expected by a large factor and then finding it exists with many other similar bodies, such a collection being called the Kuiper Belt has meant that the astronomers, as they did with the Asteroids, created a classification of non-planet for the previously presumed planet Pluto.

    And Lo, did the ignoranti shout!

  186. #186 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    “We don’t say Neptune isn’t a planet even though it has Uranus in a similar orbit nearby and these worlds have almost identical properties in many respects”

    Indeed not.

    Because both are dominants in their orbit, having cleared their orbit as per definition of planet, unlike Eris, Sedna, Pluto, et al.

  187. #187 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    “IOW, having similar worlds nearby doesn’t stop a planet from being a planet which seems to be the main “argument” for removing Pluto’s planetary status.”

    I guess if you make up what you see, you can see what you like.

    Those of us constrained to humdrum reality have to merely look on at the lunacy of you and yours with wonderment and perplexity.

  188. #188 StevoR
    December 5, 2013

    @ 183. Wow : Your source is wikipedia? LOL.

    Gee, that’s authoritative -Not.

    “Neither of which was the claim that I said was WRONG. So irrelevant. Making a statement never made as if it were some form of referral to a previous statement is called lying, steve. It’s naughty. Stop.”

    Your claim was and I quoted you directly : “the number of currently known dwarf planets larger than Pluto is zero – wrong.”

    The error – the wrongness here – was yours because Eris and Pluto are the same size (diameter) to within the error bars. It is true as I and others have said – with that supporting evidence – that there aren’t any dwarf planets larger than Pluto – the number is zero. So, no lie on my part Wow, just an explanation and elaboration showing why your trollishly capitalised and unsupported claim of “wrong” was itself wrong.

    “Formally, we have planets. 8 of them. And many Dwarf Planets of which Pluto is one. Apparently, this is not allowed to stand, however.”

    It isn’t allowed to stand because there are very good reasons why your above asserted but unsupported claim of only 8 planets is wrong and why dwarfs planets logically must count as planets as much as giant and other ones.

    “Which is why the geophysical defition fell down. Why the definition the IAU gives was accepted by those able to test whether the definition met those criteria.”

    Er, really? No. My point was the IAU definition excluded the main source of such new cases to which we have to ask the question – planets found outside our solar system . So no the IAU definition isn’t good at all there and falls down completely on that point. Exoplanets are also planets no less than those in our solar system. A definition that excludes them isn’t scientifically useful when the field of exoplanets is now one at the cutting edge of astronomy!

    But you refuse to accept those criteria unless it lets Pluto be a planet.”

    I’d also reject any definition of animal that say a dog isn’t an animal and any definition of a plant that says a rose isn’t a plant – because any such definitions would clearly be ludicrously flawed.

    “To miss the point by such a colossal margin ..” [-StevoR]
    There was no point. Only rhetorical shiboleths of the whiney bunch.Dwarf planets are not planets. Dwarfism in humans is not a case of a human not clearing its orbit. End of.” -Wow

    And here, yet again, you deliberately miss (or pretend to miss) the point completely, Wow. Because you are a troll.

    No its not rhetoric, its logic.

    Its also nomenclatural consistency which is important for understanding and teaching science.

    Something that is a dwarf or small member of category X remains a member of category X – it isn’t excluded from that category simply on the basis of its size.

    This applies to animals, plants and everything else -including planets.

    That’s not merely my assertion that’s how the field and its terminology works. We don’t exclude dwarf stars from counting as stars, we don’t exclude dwarf plants from counting as plants, so excluding dwarf planets from counting as planets would be and is illogical, inconsistent and wrong.

    What part of this do you fail to comprehend (or will you pretend to fail to comprehend for trollings sake) exactly Wow?

  189. #189 StevoR
    December 5, 2013

    D’oh. Messed up the italics there, sorry. Fixed version (hopefully!) here :

    “To miss the point by such a colossal margin ..” [-StevoR]
    There was no point. Only rhetorical shiboleths of the whiney bunch.Dwarf planets are not planets. Dwarfism in humans is not a case of a human not clearing its orbit. End of.” -Wow

    And here, yet again, you deliberately miss (or pretend to miss) the point completely, Wow. Because you are a troll.

    No its not rhetoric, its logic.

    Its also nomenclatural consistency which is important for understanding and teaching science.

    Something that is a dwarf or small member of category X remains a member of category X – it isn’t excluded from that category simply on the basis of its size.

    This applies to animals, plants and everything else -including planets.

    That’s not merely my assertion that’s how the field and its terminology works. Hence we don’t exclude dwarf stars from counting as stars, we don’t exclude dwarf plants from counting as plants, so excluding dwarf planets from counting as planets would be and is illogical, inconsistent and wrong.

    What part of this do you fail to comprehend (or will you pretend to fail to comprehend for the sake of trolling to annoy others here) exactly Wow?

  190. #190 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    @ 183. Wow : Your source is wikipedia? LOL.

    Which cites the original sources.

    Oh, I get it: you’re redefining what you want to ensure you aren’t getting it!

    Oh, you should have said! I wouldn’t have wasted my time trying to give a moron what he never wanted in the first place!

    The error – the wrongness here – was yours because Eris and Pluto are the same size (diameter) to within the error bars

    Nope, the wrongness is the statement that Pluto is bigger than Eris.

    Not in me pointing it out.

    It isn’t allowed to stand because there are very good reasons why your above asserted but unsupported claim of only 8 planets is wrong

    You keep claiming it’s wrong, but you have nothing to substantiate that, only your “seemings” that you create out of your own psychopathy.

    Er, really? No. My point was the IAU definition excluded the main source of such new cases to which we have to ask the question – planets found outside our solar system

    Nope, the definition doesn’t do that at all.

    Please show where it does.

    Specifically.

  191. #191 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    Something that is a dwarf or small member of category X remains a member of category X –

    Not part of any definition of dwarf available in this universe, dear.

  192. #192 Mike Wrathell
    December 5, 2013

    The IAU says there are 5 known dwarf planets.

  193. #193 Wow
    December 5, 2013

    No, they don’t say that, mikey.

  194. #194 Mike Wrathell
    December 5, 2013

    It’s on their site, methane.

  195. #195 David L
    December 5, 2013

    So it is, at least here:

    http://www.iau.org/public/themes/pluto/

    Q: How many dwarf planets are there?
    A: Currently there are five objects accepted as dwarf planets. Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea.

    Perhaps he has a link to another page that contradicts that.

  196. #196 Mike Wrathell
    December 5, 2013

    Not likely, David.

  197. #197 David L
    December 5, 2013

    I agree, that was written tongue in cheek. And even if he had, I’ll give you any odds you like that he won’t even entertain the notion that producing it only constitutes a draw.

  198. #198 Uldis
    Riga
    December 6, 2013

    Thanks, Wow, i learned so much from your comments here, about planets and cosmos and that there are so many people who wont try to understand, just wont think what they are, minds clouded, shouting. Thank you!

  199. #199 Wow
    December 6, 2013

    “It’s on their site”

    No it isn’t.

  200. #200 Wow
    December 6, 2013

    “Perhaps he has a link to another page that contradicts that.”

    Indeed I do, Dai.

    Odd that, innit?

    “Q: How many dwarf planets are there?
    A: Currently there are five objects accepted as dwarf planets.”

    Not saying there are only. Key words:

    Currently accepted.

    But look beyond the mine you want so hard to be all there is:

    Q: Are there additional dwarf planet candidates currently being considered?
    A: Yes. Some of the largest asteroids may be candidates for dwarf planet status and some additional dwarf planet candidates beyond Neptune will soon be considered.

    Q: When will additional new dwarf planets likely be announced?
    A: Probably within the next few years.

    Q: How many more new dwarf planets are there likely to be?
    A: There may be dozens or perhaps even more than a hundred waiting to be discovered.

    Hmm.

    Seems like the IAU say there are perhaps more than a hundred out there. And indeed the wiki link that Steve petulantly refused to read indicates that there are indeed many MANY more than a hundred.

    Odd how you did not link to support your claim, which is not only because it destroys your “argument” that there are only a handful of dwarfs, but also because it shows that your attribution was false.

    Even more amusing is Dai wibbling on with how you’re right, mikey, but didn’t actually appear to read it at all before arriving at the conclusion he so desperately loves to prove.

  201. #201 David L
    December 6, 2013

    Odd that, innit?

    Not at all. It seems entirely in character Bu thanks, your own words illustrate your problem far better than mine ever will.

  202. #202 Wow
    December 6, 2013

    “Not at all. ”

    Yeah, I was being sarcastic.

    I have no surprise that you’re running a hypocritical stance, dear.

  203. #203 Mike Wrathell
    December 7, 2013

    Learn how to read, methane. I said known, not candidates. Why are you such s peevish imp?

  204. #204 Mike Wrathell
    December 7, 2013

    Learn how to read, methane. I said known, not candidates. Why are you such a peevish, pedantic imp? Had I given the link, you would’ve bitched about that. Grow up and admit when you are wrong.

  205. #205 David L
    December 7, 2013

    ” I said known, not candidates”

    Not good enough Mike. You should have said “confirmed” or “named”, anything the unambiguously defined your position. Wow has asked you a question similar to “What was the largest island in the world before Australia was discovered, and you have given the moronic answer “Greenland”. He would rather argue semantically to prove himself “right” than let the argument move on to ground where he exposes himself to the risk of being wrong, or even worse, exposing the gaps in his understanding.

  206. #206 Wow
    December 7, 2013

    There are more known that currently accepted.

    And that is known.

    But odd.

    Mikey, IAU count Pluto as a Dwarf Planet.

    Have you now decided that they are right??!?!?

  207. #207 Mike Wrathell
    December 7, 2013

    They aren’t accepted until confirmed, thereby becoming known.

    Pluto’s slight is another issue from this.

  208. #208 Wow
    December 8, 2013

    They aren’t nonexitent or unknown until they are confirmed, mikey. They just have to be recorded to be known to exist.

    Your claims about what was said was a mine and reformation of their statement to server your ideology.

    A mendacious lie, in other words.

  209. #209 Wow
    December 8, 2013

    Dai:

    “Not good enough Mike. You should have said “confirmed” or “named”, anything the unambiguously defined your position”

    You mean like I said earlier, post 153.

    Seems like you have selective reading capacity if it serves your childish needs.

  210. #210 Mike Wrathell
    December 8, 2013

    What’s your problem? Learn English before you post again, methane. There are five known dwarf planets. Deal with it, genius.

  211. #211 Wow
    December 8, 2013

    Where’s your problem: learn how to read, moron.

    There are more than five known dwarf plants.

  212. #212 Mike Wrathell
    December 8, 2013

    No, there’s only five known dwarf planets, genius. Take it up with your beloved IAU when you hone your reading comprehension skills, whenever that might be.

  213. #213 Wow
    December 8, 2013

    No, there are more than 5 known dwarf planets, you fucking moron.

  214. #214 Wow
    December 8, 2013

    But, hey, maybe you can explain why a body so similar to Pluto in every way:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/90482_Orcus

    isn’t a dwarf planet, you vapid and noisy retard?

    Is it because it’s too small? Well, Pluto is very close to the same size.

    Is it because it has a companion nearly as big? Well, so does Pluto.

    If you’re trying to say that Orcus isn’t a dwarf planet, what do you call it?

    Because whatever you want to call it, you have to explain why Pluto isn’t the exact same thing.

  215. #215 Mike Wrathell
    December 8, 2013

    Orcus is not a dwarf planet according to the IAU. You are delusional.

  216. #216 Mike Wrathell
    December 8, 2013

    Make your juvenile and petulant demands to the IAU. I’m not at your beck and call.

  217. #217 Wow
    December 9, 2013

    ROFL!!!

    *MY* juvenile demands?

    You will insist on the IAU being right on dwarf planets but not right on pluto being a dwarf planet.

    The reason being that you want pluto to be a planet.

  218. #218 Mike Wrathell
    December 9, 2013

    Orcus will be a dwarf planet if and when the IAU deems it deserves to be. Since it is nearing aphelion, it will probably be a while. Don’t hold your breath, methane.

  219. #219 Mike Wrathell
    December 9, 2013

    Someone besides Mike Brown needs to confirm things, methane. The IAU is the main group. Unfortunately, sometimes they let the worst part of human nature affect their actions, but they still are the body that names and confirms, so I don’t have a lot of choice. I just wish they would do their fucking job without the bullshit.

  220. #220 Wow
    December 9, 2013

    Orcus is a dwarf planet, or not, whether the IAU meeting labels it or not.

  221. #221 Wow
    December 9, 2013

    “Someone besides Mike Brown needs to confirm things”

    Already been done, mikey.

    What? Ignorant again? You? With YOUR reputation?!?!?

    Damn straight:

    It was discovered on February 17, 2004 by Michael Brown of Caltech, Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory, and David Rabinowitz of Yale University. Precovery images as early as November 8, 1951 were later identified

    Aaaaaw.

    PS, odd that you now defer to a decision by a selected committee on what constitutes a dwarf planet, planet, SSB and so on. I bet you won’t be consistent in your assertions, though, will you.

    poow widdw mikey….

  222. #222 Mike Wrathell
    December 9, 2013

    I meant the IAU. Orcus sounds like it might someday be confirmed, but since it is so far away, probably not enough data for the IAU’s liking. Whatever, it is not my field, nor my problem.

    There is plenty of data on Pluto and more will be coming in, too, in the not-so-distant future.

    Don’t you have anything better to do than give me shit?

  223. #223 Wow
    December 9, 2013

    What about the IAU?

    Pluto existed before it was observed. We didn’t have to wait until the IAU named it for it to exist.

    Really, you appear to have no idea at all but are flailing to avoid answering the question, mikey:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/90482_Orcus

    Why isn’t it a dwarf planet?

    The IAU have already given the definition. Where in that definition does Orcus not fit?

    Come on, you’ve already shown you don’t know what the geophysical definition of a planet is, lets see if you know what the IAU definition is.

    Or are you scared?

  224. #224 Mike Wrathell
    December 9, 2013

    It’s not my department.

  225. #225 Mike Wrathell
    December 9, 2013

    How in the fuck am I supposed to determine if fucking Orcus is rounded by its own fucking gravity? Fuck Orcus.

  226. #226 Wow
    December 10, 2013

    So you don’t know what the geophysical definition of a planet is, but still insist it’s as good as the IAU one. You don’t know the IAU definition of a planet, but think it wrong.

    And despite not being your department when you’re asked to give your “reasoning” behind your claims, you’re still going to make those claims, aren’t you mikey-poo?

    Why?

    Because the DK is strong in you and you’re never going to let a piffling fact get in the way of your opinions, uninformed though they are.

  227. #227 Mike Wrathell
    December 10, 2013

    I know both definitions, dorkus.

  228. #228 Wow
    December 10, 2013

    No, you don’t.

    You claim it.

    But you don’t.

  229. #229 Mike Wrathell
    December 10, 2013

    Whatever you say, troll.

  230. #230 Laurel Kornfeld
    Highland Park, NJ
    March 27, 2014

    David L., here is my response to the IAU statement on this topic:
    http://laurelsplutoblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/responding-to-iau-pluto-and-developing.html

  231. […] The Sun’s Formation via Starts With a Bang […]