Just in case
Let me be the first to say that I, for one, welcome our Haumean overlords.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that the object formerly known as 2003 EL61 will henceforth be addressed as "Haumea", and joins Ceres, Eris, Makemake and Pluto in the solar system's league of dwarf planets. The IAU describes trans-Neptunian Haumea as a fast-spinning "bizarre object with a shape …
Just what is the point of this new terminology? It isn't related to the physics of the object (this one isn't even big enough to pull itself into a round ball and yet they've classed it alongside Pluto) and it isn't user-friendly (since normal people still want to call Pluto a planet), so who's it for?
If it ain't round, it's a rock. Call it an asteroid if you must, but "planet" is just barking.
Pluto IS a planet, as are all objects in hydrostatic equilibrium orbiting stars. If Haumea is in hydrostatic equilibrium, then it's a planet of the dwarf planet subcategory. What we really need to pressure the IAU on is reversing its ridiculous definition that dwarf planets are not planets at all. They are planets, just of a different type. That means our solar system now has 13 planets, not eight.
Bits knocked off? That means it hasn't cleared it's own orbit and *that* means it can't be a planet of any sort according to dimwit so-called "scientists" with too much time on their hands and not enough mental oomph to do original real science of their own, who spend entirely too much time telling everyone who'll listen how their betters got it wrong.
This horn-ear or whatever it's called is clearly a pluto-sized not-a-planet-any-more.
Why not make it easy for kids (and adults) to learn the frikkin names of these celestial objects by giving them sensible titles? Fuck it. I say scrap all those bollocky names and use something proper (and easier to remember) instead.
Yeah, Dave would be nice but possibly too corporate seeing as there's already a Channel Dave on telly.
Looks like there must be millions of so called dwarf planets orbiting the sun out there between Neptune and that large collection of asteroids that I forget the name of, so why name the fucking things at all? I mean, they're just nondescript lumps of rock in the main doing fuck all where nobody goes anyway. Out of sight, out of mind.
What the hell happened to naming rights? If Pluto can get named by someone's daughter after a frikkin' Disney character, why can't Eris be called Xena, as was originally proposed, and the moon be Gabrielle? How about Joxer, surely he deserves a go too?
Who the bloody hell do the IAU think they are, anyway?
Why don't we just call them all Planets,... or Noggies or Boffles or Things? <LOL>
Some are icy rocks, some are gasballs, some are warm rocks.
As for the numbers, once you get rid of the stupid artificial size limits and other stupid distinctions there are millions of them, most in the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt.
This is an argument about where you draw the line.
Wouldn't it be better to stop wasting the time, effort and energy and just get on with the science?
<quote> I thought they were called "Plutoids" now anyway? </quote>
Plutoids have to be a given distance from the Sun. So we have four Plutoids and one regular dwarf planet (i.e. Ceres, which is not also a TNO [Trans-Neptunian Object]).
I'm not sure what the fuss is with this supposedly changing what we have to teach, everyone learns (eventually) that school textbooks are simplified (take Newtonian vs Einsteinian physics, models of the atom, etc). We've known since the 1900s that there were probably more than nine planets, it's just that it's only recently that the IAU has moved things off the classification-pending list of Solar System objects and giving them official planet status.
It's the pub quiz organisers I feel sorry for.
just last night playing Spore
"What would happen if we joined teh galactic community and a race already had a planet called 'Earth'"? [Or something very similar]
Some standardised galactic reference grid? I'm sure other races name thier stars sexier than our "M0343" or whatever (I think M may be galaxies though..)
We on't have enough words for all this stuff, we're just making it eaier to converse about before it becomes a big issue. Unlike Stargate characters, real people don't find it very easy to remember 8+ digit numbers in reference to it [after hearing it once]
Makes them easier to find in wikipedia too :)
If they named it Suess, or Doctor Suess, then the obvious names for junior and his friend would be Thing 1 and Thing 2. For a cigar shaped body, what was the Niven planet whose poles stuck out of it's atmosphere? Was that Jinx? Maybe one of the moons could be called Bandersnatch...
@Anonymous Coward: There is a clear difference between dwarf planets, which are objects in hydrostatic equilibrium, meaning they have enough self-gravity to pull themselves into a round shape and therefore have geological processes akin to those of planets, and shapeless asteroids, which do not have these processes. Most asteroids and KBOs are not in hydrostatic equilibrium. Moons of planets that have attained this state can be called "secondary planets," as was frequently done in 19th century textbooks. They have all the qualities of planets, but they orbit other planets instead of orbiting the sun directly. There is no scientific reason to artificially limit the number of planets in our solar system. If we have several hundred primary planets (those directly orbiting the sun) and several hundred secondary planets, so be it.
@ Christopher P. Martin: Pluto is not dead. Reality cannot be changed by dictate of an organization, in this case one composed largely of astronomers who are not even planetary scientists. If teaching Pluto as a planet drove you away from the classroom, then maybe you didn't belong there to begin with. This controversy is being taught as an ongoing debate, not as a matter in which a final decision has been reached. And there is no reason for anyone to "let go" if they genuinely believe the IAU decision was wrong and irreparably flawed.
My throwaway teaching comment was an oversimplification, of course! I, like you, want to encourage debate. That I had to teach Pluto's planet status as a "fact" was the problem. However, I still insist that people need to "let go". It isn't that important. I think anyone who is particularly bothered one way or the other (as you clearly have been for at least two years judging by your extensive livejournal on the topic) should really learn to let go!
Doesn't matter what you call it, it's still there! You just said so yourself- reality cannot be changed "by dictate", so why do you care what Pluto's called? Stick to your politics. That's a more usual place for passionately expressed semantic debate that fails to change or mean anything.