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> Tenth Planet Discovered, . . . or maybe not
Victoria Silverw...
post Aug 1 2005, 10:40 AM
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This got a lot of attention recently:

Link

QUOTE
Astronomers have found a tenth planet, larger than Pluto and nearly three times farther from the Sun as Pluto is today.

Temporarily designated 2003 UB313, the new planet is the most distant object yet seen in the solar system, 97 times farther from the Sun than the Earth is. It also is the largest body yet found orbiting in the Kuiper belt, the group of icy bodies including Pluto which orbit beyond Neptune.


But is it really a planet? Both Pluto and 2003 UB313 have orbits which are much different from those of "normal" planets.

QUOTE
The discovery is sure to heat up the debate over how to define a planet. Some astronomers claim Pluto is just an overgrown Kuiper-belt object, but Brown thinks it should remain a planet. The International Astronomical Union has avoided a formal definition, but the new object may force the issue. Brown has already proposed a name, but would not disclose it.


To be debated (with, perhaps, less animosity than other debates):

1. Are Pluto and 2003 UB313 really planets?

2. What should 2003 UB313 be named, if we decide it is really a planet?


Personally, I tend to think that the Pluto/Charon system and 2003 UB313 are just unusually large Kuiper Belt objects, not significantly different from the many other objects in that distant region of the solar system. Should we say that Ceres, the largest object in the Asteroid Belt, is a planet?

If the size of the object is the big thing, how come nobody says that Quaoar and 2001 KX76 are planets? They are not much smaller than Pluto.

Link to information about Quaoar

Link to information about 2001 KX76

If we decide that 2003 UB313 deserves a planetary name, we should stick with tradition and use the name of a major deity in the Roman pantheon. For lack of a better idea, I suppose I would suggest Minerva as the name of a new planet. Of the major Roman deities not already honored by a planet or an asteroid, Apollo is too closely associated with the Sun, and Diana is too closely associated with the Moon. Juno would be a possibility, as would Vulcan, but these both seem somehow not quite appropriate.









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lordhelmet
post Aug 1 2005, 12:59 PM
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QUOTE(Victoria Silverwolf @ Aug 1 2005, 06:40 AM)

To be debated (with, perhaps, less animosity than other debates):

1.  Are Pluto and 2003 UB313 really planets?

2.  What should 2003 UB313 be named, if we decide it is really a planet?




1. Sure. If they revolve around our sun, then they are planets.

2. What should UB 312 be named. Well, we already have Pluto so I vote for Mickey.

Seriously, I think Astronomy is largely a waste of time. What we see in the heavens, for the most part, has already taken place millions of years ago.

Sure, the pictures are pretty to look at, but so are the sights right here on earth.

The money spent on star gazing could be better spent on national defense, law enforcement, and education.

Astronomy should be a "hobby", not something that our government spends money on.
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Christopher
post Aug 1 2005, 01:17 PM
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QUOTE
The money spent on star gazing could be better spent on national defense, law enforcement, and education.

Astronomy should be a "hobby", not something that our government spends money on.


Gee Gallagher Talking points--surprise surprise surprise.

The Future is out there LH--- If we don't stay on top we fall behind. You won't find a stronger supporter of private enterprise in space than I--but reality is that government support will be needed until things get going. Hopefully we won't end up limited by the short sighted and those afraid of the overhyped "terrorists"

As for the "better spent" theory there are plenty of better places to cut corners and protect funding for our space race.

As for the "10th" Planet. I say give it a name.

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Bill55AZ
post Aug 1 2005, 01:49 PM
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1. Are Pluto and 2003 UB313 really planets?

2. What should 2003 UB313 be named, if we decide it is really a planet?


1. I don't know.
2. If it is a gas giant, I think we should honor one of our more vocal politicians by naming it after him.

Space may well be our future, but not our immediate future, even speaking in geologic time frames. If we don't solve the problems of our present, and immediate future, there may not be a long term future for us.
I agree that Space in interesting, and should have a little bit of tax money spent on it, but there are more pressing problems that could use the money and effort that is currently being expended on our space program.
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VDemosthenes
post Aug 1 2005, 02:36 PM
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QUOTE
1. Are Pluto and 2003 UB313 really planets?


I am unsure. But the idea is highly tantalizing isn't it? Personally, I believe anything larger than Pluto and is in a consistent orbit with the Sun is a planet. UB313 is larger than Pluto and supposedly in orbit with the Sun. By my logical, yes. They are planets, yet science may prove me wrong.


QUOTE
2. What should 2003 UB313 be named, if we decide it is really a planet?


Personally I like "Mickey," so that way we'll have a Mickey and a Pluto. laugh.gif

Seriously though, I am in favor of the name Fortuna. Who better to represent the tenth planet than the Roman Goddess of fortune.


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Amlord
post Aug 1 2005, 03:37 PM
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QUOTE
1. Are Pluto and 2003 UB313 really planets?

2. What should 2003 UB313 be named, if we decide it is really a planet?



1. No. Both Pluto and this new planet are not "major planets". They are properly classified as minor planets.

This article explains why Pluto, if discovered today, would be classified as a minor planet or TNO (trans-Neptunian object).

QUOTE
Of course, it took many years after Copernicus' publication in 1543 of his heliocentric theory before astronomers were generally inclined to teach that planets move about the sun, not about the earth. And the reasons were similar to the reasons for calling Pluto a major planet in the 1930s: observations that were greatly inferior to the observations that we have today. (Had more precise observations of the planets been available to Copernicus, the problem would have been solved much more quickly; the poor nature of the observations led many to pause on adopting heliocentrism in the 16th century.) So perhaps the politics and social pressures of the 20th century are not that different in overall character from the politics and social pressures of the 16th century, and some more years must pass before new generations of astronomers fully accept the poor logic behind viewing Pluto as the ninth major planet. Even Galileo (who turned astronomy upside down with his astronomical discoveries in the early 17th century using early telescopes) was unable to accept the assertion by Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler that comets orbit the sun (Galileo followed Aristotle's assertion that comets are part of our earth's upper atmosphere, closer to us than the moon). Astronomers are human, too, and many of them have trouble accepting change.


All of the major planets have e (or p) < 0.21. The gas giants have e < 0.06 (e in this case is "geometric albedo" of orbit, with e=0 being a circle and e=1 being a parabola or open ended curve). Pluto's albedo is 0.6, which is consistent with TNOs. Similarly 2003 UB313 also has an e ~ 0.6.

Pluto was called a planet in 1930 because the discoverer was looking for the mysterious "Planet X" which astronomers thought was influencing Neptune's orbit. It turns out that the anomalies in Neptune's orbit were due to errors in measurement and not the influence of another planet.

2. It's not a planet, but since it is larger than Pluto, I posit the name Terminus. Terminus was the Roman god of boundaries. He was also a minor god, which is appropriate.
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