Holy Sh8T! We lost Pluto!

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200608241003 Holy Sh8T! We lost Pluto!Red alert! Red Alert! WE HAVE LOST PLUTO. Repeat, one of our planets is gone. PLANET DOWN! FIRE IN THE HOLE!. Call the JLA, mobilize the Avengers…was it Darkseid? GALACTUS? Maybe….THE DEATH STAR.

Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight.

After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930.

The new definition of what is — and isn’t — a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one.

Pluto is no stranger to controversy. In fact, it’s been dogged by disputes ever since its discovery. (Watch why some think planet size doesn’t matter — 3:39)


REED RICHARDS, DO SOMETHING!!!!

Comments

  1. Wasn’t it Alan Moore who wrote the story in MISTER MAJESTIC about realigning the Solar System? Or was it Joe Casey? My memory used to be much better about these things. . .

  2. But do we still have Goofy?

  3. Rob Helmerichs says:

    Such a rare pleasure in this current political climate to see science trump public opinion for once…

  4. Pluto is a moon…Dinosaurs had feathers…modern archeologists have a comprehenzive digital map of all the underground tombs and infrastructure within the Valley of the Kings…

    No ma’am, I don’t like modern science. Give me my mystery back.

  5. David Snyder says:

    Don’t underestimate Pluto. Pluto doesn’t know the word quit.

  6. If Pluto isn’t a planet because it hasn’t “cleared its orbital path” of other objects — crossing Neptune’s orbit, then by the same logic isn’t Neptune also not a planet because it hasn’t cleared Pluto from _its_ path?

  7. Ben McCool says:

    So Pluto’s no longer a planet then, eh? Boy. A revelation of modern science, no less.

    Not *quite* as much of a revelation, however, as the one Sam, the comedic hero I’m lucky enough to work with, encountered earlier this year. The look on his face upon hearing that Jesus Christ WASN’T an electrician deserved far more than the sight of me weeing into my underpants as I rolled around on the floor, laughing my bollocks off.

    I almost hope he was joking. But only a little bit.

  8. Please, can somebody shoot Scott Bieser?

    He’s using logic, and in this day and age, that is considered blasphemy!

  9. Seriously, though…I read the definition given by that jury… and kudos to Mr. Bieser for pointing out what must be one of the biggest logical flaws in the entire definition.

    The “Bieser Flaw” should be handed into the scientific community at once!

  10. Ali T. Kokmen says:

    I imagine that the official nuts-and-bolts definition of what it means for a planet to have cleared its orbital path is specific enough to address the “Beiser Flaw”.

    For example, the LA Times article about Pluto’s demotion describes that for a planet to be said to “clear its area”, it must “[sweep] up other matter in its area and preventing the formation of other *similarly sized* objects.” If that “similarly-sized” part is a key part of that criterion, then I guess that’s why Neptune can still be said to have cleared its path (since even if Pluto is its orbital path, it’s nowhere near Neptune’s size) when Pluto (and Ceres, Charon, and Xena) do not, since they’re orbiting in the midst of a whole bunch of similar stuff (be it the Ceres in the Asteroid Belt, or Pluto in the Kuiper Belt…)

  11. The Beat says:

    Poor Pluto! First the whole Persophone thing, now this.

  12. Well, now it’s just considered a dwarf planet. That’s not so bad. It sounds more recognizable than a “pluton.” It also raises the possibility for orc planets and elf planets. Mmmyep.

  13. The Beat says:

    Dwarf planet!!!

  14. brian spence says:

    There’s no WAY I’m going to memorize the planets of the solar system again. Aren’t they adding some new planets too?

  15. Well, by renaming it a “dwarf planet” at least they’re keeping it in the Disney family.

  16. Quote:
    “For example, the LA Times article about Pluto’s demotion describes that for a planet to be said to “clear its areaâ€?, it must “[sweep] up other matter in its area and preventing the formation of other *similarly sized* objects.â€? If that “similarly-sizedâ€? part is a key part of that criterion, then I guess that’s why Neptune can still be said to have cleared its path (since even if Pluto is its orbital path, it’s nowhere near Neptune’s size) when Pluto (and Ceres, Charon, and Xena) do not, since they’re orbiting in the midst of a whole bunch of similar stuff (be it the Ceres in the Asteroid Belt, or Pluto in the Kuiper Belt…)”

    Not to go all German here, but “similar-sized” is a bad, bad, baaaaaad definition. What is “similar-sized”? 90 percent? 80 percent?

    Also, that definition precludes even the notion of a binary planet system, since one of those objects a) either must clear its path or b) you immediately have to conclude that one object is a moon, even though they might orbit each other.

    And then it again comes down to: when do we say with what size is that other object a moon? 90 percent? 80 percent?

    Also, a moon can only orbit a planet, two objects cannot orbit each other.

    What that jury has done is tighten their definitions based only on their current view of OUR solar system, and that is bad science.

  17. not “dwarf planet”, “little planet”.

    hm, planet Xena. bring on PLANET BRISCO COUNTY, JR.

  18. Ali T. Kokmen says:

    > Not to go all German here, but “similar-sizedâ€? is a
    > bad, bad, baaaaaad definition. What is “similar-sizedâ€??
    > 90 percent? 80 percent?

    Oh, I agree. But although the specific language in IAU Proposition 5A “Definition of a ‘planet’ ” doesn’t quantify matters, I gotta believe there’s somewhere some sort of specificity to what they’re talking about. Astonomer Steven Soter’s journal article at http://arxiv.org/ftp/astro-ph/papers/0608/0608359.pdf , for instance, contains a whole host of mathematical formulae–more than I can follow. I ain’t a mathematician and I ain’t an astronomer (and I haven’t studied this particular article) so I can’t tell offhand if Soter’s math is talking about clearing the neighborhood, or orbital shapes or distances, or whatever else–or if it’s related to the IAU definition at all–but clearly astronomers are able to fall back on some sort of quantifiable mathematics for whatever they decide.

    > Also, that definition precludes even the notion of a
    > binary planet system, since one of those objects a) either
    > must clear its path or b) you immediately have to conclude
    > that one object is a moon, even though they might orbit
    > each other.

    Right, like Oph1622. I would imagine, though, that the IAU could just create another classification for such things. They’ve already created the “dwarf planet” designation; surely they can classify such things as, say, “binary planets.”

    One interesting semantic hiccup to the IAU’s decision is the counter-intuitive consequence that something called a “dwarf planet” is not a “planet”. Which sounds like saying an “accoustic guitar” is not a “guitar.” Going down that road, I wonder if they’ll ever make a new retronym designation for the eight-current planets, in which case, the general term “planet” could be opened up again to include Pluto. And Ceres. And a whole lot of other things…

  19. Nope, sorry…still bad science.

    Also, the definition of “clearing the orbital path” doesn’t hold water, either. Earth crosses paths with more than 10,000 REGISTERED objects, Jupiter has more than 100,000 objects that are in its “immediate” (again, such a horrible usage of language. What is “immediate”? 2,000,000 kilometers? Less? More?)

    GAH!

    That’s what happens when you let astronomers do a definition (incidentally, only 424 astronomers of actually 2,500 voted on this…the others, apparently thinking that the aforementioned definition would be waved through…simply had already left the conference. What is this? The US presidential election?)

  20. Well, it makes sense if you understand that they included footnotes that answered the Neptune conundrum by saying that the 8 classically recognized planets don’t have to abide by the definition and that the definition only applied to planets in our solar system and not elsewhere anyway.

    Wait, did I say “make sense?” I really meant “makes arbitrary.”

  21. I say we let it be a planet every third Wednesday of every fourth month unless it’s leap year. In which case it would be a large sandwich.

  22. Sarah says:

    I believe Pluto has all the rights of a planet. It’s barley half the size of Mercury anyway. I recently did a research paper on it and I have to say I agree with some of these other people. This is a huge folly of science!

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