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Thread: PLuto Revisited

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    PLuto Revisited

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...0/02/12/AR2010

    Recent computer-processed images of Pluto taken by the Hubble Space Telescope show that it is not simply a ball of ice and rock, but a dynamic world that undergoes dramatic atmospheric changes produced by its seasons. The images show an icy and dark, molasses-colored world that is highly mottled and whose northern hemisphere is now getting brighter.
    The images show that Pluto -- once considered the ninth and most distant planet but now reduced to the status of dwarf planet -- also turned noticeably redder in the two years after the turn of the millennium for reasons that are not clear, according to NASA, and that its equator features a large bright spot whose origin remains a mystery.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...021204157.html


    Last edited by Wesley; 02-16-2010 at 08:26 AM.
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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Ahhhh..the age old debate of what is a planet and what isn't..and why it somehow matters.



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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
    Ahhhh..the age old debate of what is a planet and what isn't..and why it somehow matters.
    It matters because classification matters. If Pluto is a planet (which it's not), you have to say that many (potentially hundreds) of other dwarf planets are planets, too.



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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by isucyfan View Post
    It matters because classification matters. If Pluto is a planet (which it's not), you have to say that many (potentially hundreds) of other dwarf planets are planets, too.
    I understand classification...I just don't understand why it's extremely important to classify planets or non-planets.



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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
    I understand classification...I just don't understand why it's extremely important to classify planets or non-planets.
    Classification helps us understand the world/universe. Do you not want zoological taxonomy either? Same thing. Periodical Table? Dewey Decimal System?



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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by isucyfan View Post
    Classification helps us understand the world/universe. Do you not want zoological taxonomy either? Same thing. Periodical Table? Dewey Decimal System?
    Again, I understand that and I understand knowing the origins of the Universe, but that's the only way I can see why it's important. That's just me though.



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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
    Again, I understand that and I understand knowing the origins of the Universe, but that's the only way I can see why it's important. That's just me though.
    Help me understand then...what compelling reason would there be to classify some things, but not others? Classifying Pluto as a planet is about like classifying a platypus as a reptile.



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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    It's a ******* planet ;)

    That is all.


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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by isucyfan View Post
    Help me understand then...what compelling reason would there be to classify some things, but not others? Classifying Pluto as a planet is about like classifying a platypus as a reptile.

    This is true, although classifying animals has a better payoff because on earth we can interact with them. Classification matters for "cutting corners"...knowing that All x's do Y, if you can ID it, it's a good thing. Although again, classifying planets is for that so you can say "all planets have ________." Well, if you are studying planets, you are not going to be a cognitive miser about it as much as "All reptiles have _____, so if I ever run into one, I'll know what to do."



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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by SplitIdentity View Post
    It's a ******* planet ;)

    That is all.
    Wrong. Present your evidence, mon frere.



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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by isucyfan View Post
    Wrong. Present your evidence, mon frere.
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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    As per the IAU (International Astronomical Union), a planet must:

    1) be in orbit about the Sun
    2) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibruim (nearly round) shape
    3) clear the neighborhood around its orbit

    Pluto does not pass #3 as many other Kuiper belt objects share the same neighborhood as Pluto. Therefore, by what most astronomers would consider the basis for planethood, Pluto is a dwarf planet as it doesn't clear the neighborhood around its orbit but is not a satellite of a larger object.

    However, some astronomers choose to ignore this scientific statement and "grandfather" Pluto into the planets. Take your pick of whose side you want on.


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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
    This is true, although classifying animals has a better payoff because on earth we can interact with them. Classification matters for "cutting corners"...knowing that All x's do Y, if you can ID it, it's a good thing. Although again, classifying planets is for that so you can say "all planets have ________." Well, if you are studying planets, you are not going to be a cognitive miser about it as much as "All reptiles have _____, so if I ever run into one, I'll know what to do."
    Interaction doesn't have anything to do with it in my opinion. And classification is all about being a "cognitive miser". It draws specific and standard lines of definition that are specific and standard for a reason.



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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by isucyfan View Post
    Interaction doesn't have anything to do with it in my opinion. And classification is all about being a "cognitive miser". It draws specific and standard lines of definition that are specific and standard for a reason.
    Again, i understand classification. I help do it for something on a current project of mine, I just don't understand why it's actually important whether or not pluto is a planet or not.



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    Re: PLuto Revisited

    Quote Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
    Again, i understand classification. I help do it for something on a current project of mine, I just don't understand why it's actually important whether or not pluto is a planet or not.
    So, it's just a personal preference that some scientific things be classified, and others not? If so, that's fine, but not scientifically consistent.



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