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"Do You Consider Pluto a Planet?" Topic

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17 Jul 2015 12:38 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Toaster17 Jul 2015 1:46 p.m. PST

"That's no moon, that's a….

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2015 2:00 p.m. PST

Yes. I am a strong supporter of traditional planetary values.


Winston Smith17 Jul 2015 2:05 p.m. PST

Who died and made IAU boss?

Repiqueone17 Jul 2015 2:17 p.m. PST

Oh, just one of those international agreements that rational men sometimes make.

Founded in 1919 and membership restricted to PhDs and beyond in astronomical sciences. You know, Winston, people that actually know what they're talking about.

I believe the formal name for a dwarf planet is a Plutoid, which somewhat preserves Pluto's status in the hierarchy of dwarf planets.
See: link

Zephyr117 Jul 2015 2:40 p.m. PST

Yes. It's big, it's spherical due to its own gravity, it's not a star or a former star. Ergo, it's a planet.

So there are more like it? Add more planets. What, y'all can't count over 10?

^^ This.

And I hereby name that really big one they haven't found yet as Nemesis-IX


Cyrus the Great17 Jul 2015 2:46 p.m. PST

Oh, now we take Pluto and make it wear glasses and call it Plutoid. Fine kettle of fish, or should I say poisson!

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2015 2:47 p.m. PST

I, too, consider it a planet!

Weasel17 Jul 2015 2:57 p.m. PST

I had no idea that people felt this strongly about it.

The actual chunk of rock is the exact same, no matter what we call it.

Repiqueone17 Jul 2015 3:09 p.m. PST

So very true, Weasel. I also doubt if any of the assembled have any Astronomical training or professional standing in Astronomy and will never get a vote in the IAU.

They can hope that the definition is reconsidered after data from New Horizons is analyzed, but I doubt that it will be.

Shouldn't we really be worrying about whether the Young Guard was Young or really Guard?

Were they short enough to be called the Dwarf Guard?

coopman17 Jul 2015 4:06 p.m. PST


TGerritsen17 Jul 2015 4:25 p.m. PST

My first grade teacher always yelled that ain't isn't a word and common usage of it doesn't matter. Now ain't is in the dictionary as a word because common usage finally forced it. (And I still won't use it.) If enough people push Pluto as a planet in common usage long enough, it very well may be reclassified some day.

Repiqueone, you keep stating there are other bodies bigger than Pluto including the Moon, but I note that size isn't even a criteria listed by the IAU, so that argument is just as irrelevant, is it not?

I consider Pluto a planet by lawn holder's right (as in you kids can get off of it). However, I freely contend that my opinion is both meaningless in the scheme of things and against the IAU's current stance. I think both the IAU and I will find a way to live with that.

svsavory17 Jul 2015 4:35 p.m. PST

I'm not an astronomer and I'm not a member of the IAU. Still, Pluto will always be a planet to me. It's just a label anyway.

53Punisher17 Jul 2015 5:25 p.m. PST

FWIW, I've been reading and watching quite a few articles/reports on this. The one thing I noticed is that the planetary scientists are pretty much in agreement that a body of astronomers really should have no place in making the decision that Pluto is or is not a true planet. They say it should be up to the planetary scientists to make that call, not the astronomers.

Dynaman878917 Jul 2015 5:31 p.m. PST

It is a planet to me and I do not give a rip what the IAU says. By their definition Neptune is not a planet either since it has not cleared Pluto from its orbit.

Mako1117 Jul 2015 5:35 p.m. PST

I'm a dinosaur, so yes, it is a planet.

Repiqueone17 Jul 2015 7:29 p.m. PST

Yes, Mako, I agree, you are a dinosaur. Dynaman, Neptune has cleared all other objects from its orbit. Pluto comes within Neptunes distance from the sun, but they do not share an orbit. 53 Pusher what are you talking about ???? I'd love to see a source! If there are quite a few articles, that should be an easy task.

Savory, quite right, it will,always be a planet to you.

53Punisher17 Jul 2015 8:10 p.m. PST

Repiqueone, here's an informative article from a physicist/planetary scientist:


Refer to the #9 point he discusses. Makes pretty good sense to me.

In any event, it's not worth being defensive over either way. IMHO, no reason getting in a spitting match over any of this. If we all were actually planetary scientists or astronomers, then it would make a difference. But just as average humans watching all this from the peanut gallery, it's up to the real experts to determine. Case closed for me. :)

Coelacanth17 Jul 2015 8:20 p.m. PST

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I phrased the question as I did, "do you consider Pluto to be a planet?" so as to solicit opinion rather than spark an argument. So, I come back and find all Hades* breaking loose. There are many words of art that mean one thing in daily conversation, but another (generally more specific) thing in their scholarly context. Let's keep our heads about us, and remember the most important thing:

We got pictures back from freaking PLUTO!


* I couldn't resist.

Personal logo UltraOrk Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2015 8:27 p.m. PST

It's a planet.

planet, dwarf planet, giant planet, moose planet…


It's a planet.

svsavory17 Jul 2015 8:58 p.m. PST

I anxiously await the official TMP poll. That will settle the question once and for all!

nevinsrip17 Jul 2015 11:39 p.m. PST

What about the Daily Planet? Does that count?

Rabbit 318 Jul 2015 3:27 a.m. PST

Yes. It's a planet in the Bible, and that's good enough for me.

Only if somebody inserted it in after 1930!

Winston Smith18 Jul 2015 5:10 a.m. PST

This is exactly the kind of thread that should result in massive DHing.
Come on guys. You aren't trying hard enough!

If the old fogies at the IAU wanted to set a minimum diameter criterion, I would be ok with that. So we get a few more? I'm fine with that.
But some silly one like "clear it's orbit" is lame. How could Pluto do that at three billion miles from the sun? Doesn't it have a nice collection of moons?

It's a planet.

Tuudawgs18 Jul 2015 7:34 a.m. PST

Sorry, but to quote the Jefferson Airplane "you cal it rain, but the human name doesn't make s%&t to a tree."

mandt218 Jul 2015 7:51 a.m. PST

YES! No. Maybe.

Either way, that fly-by is an amazing accomplishment.

Martin Rapier18 Jul 2015 10:36 a.m. PST

So, is this another one of those things where only 'experts' are allowed to have an opinion?

I don't recall 'being an expert astronomer' was one of the criteria specified in the OP.

This is the Bleeped texting internet, we've all got an opinion and it is worth exactly what you paid to hear it.

Feet up now18 Jul 2015 11:45 a.m. PST

Okay so I told the missus and her friends that Pluto is not a planet so there Horoscopes for the last 10 years are invalid.
Her response ? Where are the IAU based.

So tell me this , is Pluto a celestial body moving in an elliptical orbit round a star?
No = non planet
Yes = Planet

It is a bit small minded having a group of people sitting and chatting on Earth making these far reaching judgements. Seems like they are classing a planetoid as a non planet just to justify themselves and stunt the hopes of amateur astrologers from making new discoveries.
That's what Mork would have said anyway.

Weasel18 Jul 2015 12:50 p.m. PST

The photos are super cool :-)

Winston Smith18 Jul 2015 1:30 p.m. PST

So, is this another one of those things where only 'experts' are allowed to have an opinion?

Didn't you get The Memo?

It came with your "Neil deGrasse Tyson Fanboy" kit.

Mark Plant18 Jul 2015 4:21 p.m. PST


I imagine that the pre-internet version of TMP would have insisted that phlogiston was an element after the discovery of oxygen, on the basis that they were brought up to believe it an element.

No doubt y'all believe in the aether too.

Cyrus the Great18 Jul 2015 9:28 p.m. PST

No doubt y'all believe in the aether too.

How do YOU travel among the planets? My liftwood ships sail the aether streams and solar winds on my planetary voyages.

Paint it Pink19 Jul 2015 6:47 a.m. PST

Pluto is the first in its own unique class called wither Plutonoids of Plutoids, and is a dwarf planet. I see that the controversial Phil Metzger site has already been quoted, and I would like to quote from a different page:

Right now there are probably 85 additional dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt and Scattered Disk that we have already found, and who knows how many more in the Oort Cloud? And there are already hundreds of more possible dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt except we can't see their size well enough yet to know if they meet the requisite size limit to be round. If we admitted all these hundreds of new bodies into the planet club, then the view of planets as a few reigning aristocrats could not survive. link

Here's the thing, complaining that the status of Pluto has changed is like complaining that our understanding of how the universe works changed from Newtonian physics to Einsteinian physics. Science is all about change as our understanding improves.

Pluto is a planet if our Moon is a planet would be an example of understanding what we're looking at, and how we want to classify things. Pluto meets two out of the three requirements for our current understanding of what makes a planet a planet; namely failing to own its orbit, as in cleared it other objects by capturing them.

Pluto's problem is, if I've understood what I've been told properly, the existence of Jupiter, which prevents this from happening and this has resulted in a number of other bodies in Plutos orbit.

Dynaman878919 Jul 2015 8:37 a.m. PST

> Pluto comes within Neptunes distance from the sun, but they do not share an orbit.

Just love how you have to thread the needle to make Pluto NOT a planet but keep Neptune in.

Winston Smith20 Jul 2015 6:04 a.m. PST

I love how those rejecting the status of Pluto as a planet don the mantle of snooty intellectual superiority over the ignorant yahoos.
A TINY MINORITY of the IAU who have anointed and appointed themselves the arbiters of this "controversy" voted on it. So we must obey or be considered ignorant.
And how did they get that lame "clearing it's orbit" criterion?

I reject their authority! To the barricades!

Winston Smith20 Jul 2015 6:05 a.m. PST

And what about Gor?

Supercilius Maximus20 Jul 2015 9:25 a.m. PST

As above, it is roughly spherical, quite big, goes round the Sun and appears to be called 'Pluto'.

If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck……

……it should be called Donald, not Pluto.

In all our capitalist/imperialist arrogance, have we even thought to ask the Plutonians what THEY want?

And surely the more important question is whether any of the scientists involved in the mission upset feminists by wearing another inappropriate shirt during a TV interview?

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Jul 2015 4:34 p.m. PST
Rod I Robertson20 Jul 2015 5:46 p.m. PST

In 1801 the object Ceres was discovered in the asteroid belt and was quickly proclaimed a planet. This label persisted for about fifty years until Ceres lost her planetary status. Now history has repeated itself. Pluto has been demoted because of the discovery of the the Kuiper body Eris (formerly named Xena). Eris is about the same size as Pluto but more massive. If Pluto was to remain a planet then so would Eris be a planet. Likewise many other large Kuiper bodies and at least two objects in the Asteroid Belt. We would have gone from 9 planets to between 13 and 17 planets depending on the size/mass cut-off point. Do we really want to learn the names of Eris, Makemake, Haumea, Sedna, 2012VB113, 4-Vesta and Ceres plus possibly hundreds more? Dwarf planets were an easy out.
The decision by the IAU leadership may have been unpopular but it saved us the headache of having to manage a much more crowded solar system in our heads. And for those of you who pine for more true planets based on perturbations in the orbits of Eris and Sedna, there may be one or two large ones way out beyond the Kuiper Belt just waiting to be discovered.
Rod Robertson.

Cyrus the Great20 Jul 2015 10:04 p.m. PST

Not to mention Nibiru!

Rod I Robertson20 Jul 2015 10:29 p.m. PST

Cyrus the Great:
Oh dear! Is it time to don our aluminum foil hats?
Rod Robertson.

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