pluto is a planet
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if pluto can be a dog it can be a planet
TWENTY REASONS WHY PLUTO SHOULD STILL BE A PLANET
Demoting Pluto is unfair. The new definition of planet relies on information (mass,
shape) that was not and could not be known in the 1930s.
The new definition requires that a planet be round. Heck. Is even the Earth really round?
Don’t judge Pluto by the company it keeps. The new definition requires that a planet
gravitationally clear its orbit. What about Trojan asteroids at Jupiter? What about
NEARs at Earth? What about dust? That rule could reduce the number of planets to
The new rule is circular, anyway. (No pun intended.) If an object really is massive
enough to “clear” its orbit, it’s going to be self-compressed round.
And the “playing field” is not level. A body’s difficulty in clearing its orbit (really, the
volume that it must clear) increases as a function of its distance from the Sun. Clearing is
most difficult for Pluto, the furthest “planet.”
Pluto is a product of a poor neighborhood. If Mars, like Pluto, lived in a cluttered region
such as the Kuiper Belt, it would no longer be considered a planet.
Instead, Mars was brought up at a ritzy address. It’s got massive Jupiter nearby to help
clean up its orbit. Sure. Let the butler do it for you!
This upstart body called Eris (now known to be bigger than Pluto) has an orbit highly
inclined to the ecliptic. There’s not much to clear up there. No heavy lifting. If worlds
were drafted back when Pluto was discovered, Eris would have gotten the National
The new planet definition is time dependent. We need to know the history of a body
before we can assign its status. The waiting line for a planetary passport is a billion-years
We usually don’t define things based on their location. We have “star clusters” not
The new planet definition was not chosen through a transparent process. Despite the best
efforts of the committee and its chairman, the story gives the impression that science is
done in the backroom.
The International Astronomical Union planet definition vote was botched. Yes, it was
even worse than Bush vs. Gore in 2000.
By the way, what’s with that substitute “dwarf planet” thing? You mean a dwarf planet
is not a planet? Where’s a linguist when we need one?
The new planet definition might affect Pluto research funding. Would the recently
launched space probe to Pluto have made it off the ground today? Would Congress fund
a mission to a dismissed planet?
The word “dwarf” has negative connotations, at least among the public at large. Between
Pluto and dwarfs, there’s just too much Disney floating around
We are in danger of convincing people that scientific classification is real, and not a
Hey, Pluto-discoverer Clyde Tombaugh’s story is too good to throw away. Can Michael
Brown build a telescope out of a Model T Ford? (Well, to be honest, maybe he can . . .)
Kids like Pluto. It sounds cuter than “Uranus.” Worse, some think Pluto has
disappeared! These future taxpayers (and astronomers) will vote with their feet—or
rather their toys, coloring books, and songs. We might as well rename Santa’s reindeer . .
The word “planet” is in popular usage—has been for millennia. Can astronomers hijack
a word? Sounds pretty snooty to me.
Even if defining Pluto is capricious, what’s wrong with a capricious definition?
Astronomy already has such nonsensical items as planetary nebulae, the Large
Magellanic Cloud, and asteroids (which aren’t very “aster” at all). Deal with it.
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