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Tenth planet found

 
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Tenth planet found
 
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I hope they call it 'Rupert'.
 
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It is a tiny white dot even in the most powerful telescopes, but a dot that moves, albeit slowly, against the background of distant stars.

That means it must be a planet,



Couldn't it be a comet, or a large asteroid? why does it have to be a planet just because it moves?
 
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Originally posted by fred rosenberger:
why does it have to be a planet just because it moves?



There are no very sharp boundaries between the definitions of these, especially between "asteroid" (or planetoid) and planet -- other than the size, and the nature of the orbit. Things with orbits that cross the orbits of the planets, sometimes being in the inner solar system, sometimes outside -- are called comets. Small things with orderly, planetlike elliptical orbits, are called planetoids. But this thing is probably larger than Pluto, perhaps 50% larger.

Now, the thing about both Pluto and this new thing is that their orbits are vaguely comet-like -- Pluto's orbit is at an angle to the plane of the solar system, and sometimes it's closer than Neptune is to the sun. This new thing has an even more tilted orbit.

Outside the solar system there is this still poorly-understood region called the Kuiper belt filled with strange objects -- comets, planetoids, etc. That's where this thing is. Even farther out is a region called the Oort cloud, about which we know even less -- but which may contain a trillion comets and the majority of the solar system's mass! Two years ago, a large object named "Sedna" was discovered that lay farther away that any other Kuiper belt object. I think it was a little smaller than Pluto. It also has been called a "tenth planet."

There's an awful lot we don't know about the outer regions of our solar system, and about interstellar space. But we do know now that the old primary school view of the solar system -- like those dioramas we built with the pingpong balls and grapefruits and basketballs, all lined up -- leaves a lot out.
 
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Thats no scattered disk object! Its a ...
[ August 01, 2005: Message edited by: Mark Fletcher ]
 
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Fred: yes the article incorrectly makes it sound like a planet is the thing that would give you a moving point of light. It's poorly written in that respect. In reality the astronomers involved have considered alternatives somewhat more carefully than the article implies.

I think I like the proposed name, Xena. If it turns out to have a moon, they can call it Gabrielle.
 
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The difference between planetoid and planet is pretty thin. Wasn't there a push a few years back to reclassify Pluto as a planetoid instead of a planet because of its size and orbit? I remember learning that "solid" planets tended to form close to their sun, where gravitational and accretion forces strip away extra mass, and gas giants form farther away where the sun's gravity doesn't influence it as much. I think this was part of the argument against Pluto. Maybe this new planet will cause us to rethink our definitions...

But please, don't name it Xena!
 
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Originally posted by David O'Meara:
I hope they call it 'Rupert'.



LOL. I completely agree! (Of course, I was just reading the book this comes from last night or I probably would have missed this reference all together.)

Layne
 
Paul Bourdeaux
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I can't believe they didn't even consult Douglas Adams before suggesting a name for the 10th planet!
 
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Wasn't there a push a few years back to reclassify Pluto as a planetoid instead of a planet because of its size and orbit?



Yes, in fact, there are those who haven't stopped pushing.

Maybe this new planet will cause us to rethink our definitions



There is speculation that this is very much going to be the case.

I had read somewhere that if a new planet were ever discovered, that it would be named Persephone. Either that notion fell by the wayside, I read it in a SciFi novel rather than someplace "real", or I'm just hallucinatory.
 
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I think the really interesting plaets are those where intellegent life is to be found. You know, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, ...
 
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Originally posted by Barry Gaunt:
I think the really interesting plaets are those where intellegent life is to be found. You know, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, ...



Glad you didn't count Earth in that
 
Jim Yingst
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A Roman god's name would seem most appropriate for a planet (if this is a planet), based on previous names. Or alternately, any Greek or Roman mythological name. Problem is, most of these (including Persephone) have been taken up by asteroids. I wonder if there's a procedure for revoking the name of an asteroid? If not, then creating a new name may be best. And at least Xena hung out with more traditional mythological figures on her show. It might be a bit much to call Xena a "modern Greco-Roman myth" but at least it's a nod in the Greco-Roman direction. As names go, we could do a lot worse.

As for the "is it a planet?" question: I'm not sure why it really matters. We create these arbitrary classifications, then later find out that there are borderline cases. Who cares? It's much like the (hoplessly murky and arbitrary) definition of a "continent". (For fun, ask people from different countries how many "continents" there are, and what they are. Answers can vary substantially.) The object tentatively known as "Xena" is a small planet-like thiny, somewhat larger than the last planet-like thingy that was generally accepted as a "planet". Whether it's "really" a planet or not, I don't really care.
 
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Originally posted by Andrew Monkhouse:
Glad you didn't count Earth in that



I wonder how intelligent we would seem to an alien coming to look at earth. While we are individually intelligent, the human race taken as a whole is not very intelligent at all. Its done a whole load of very stupid things - over populating the world, over consuming the resources in its environment, reducing progress by continuously harming itself with various shiny weapons and most strangely finding out that its damaging its environment and then deliberately increasing the rate of damage.

If I was an alien coming to survey the earth, I may see evidence of the above and consider that, put together as a group, humans are not that intelligent after all. We often say things like "we are greater than the sum of our parts" when referring to how we are intelligent despite being made up of unintelligent cells, but the opposite is true of the human race as a whole.
[ August 02, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
 
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i think they should not make another mistake.

just because classifying pluto was a mistake, doesnt mean we can base the future on that mistake,

if pluto should have been a kuiper belt, then let it be a planet if it eases everyone.

but making this new one a planet just because it is similar somehow to pluto, then its another mistake
 
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Here is the orbit of the tenth planet from the Sun

http://members.wri.com/jeffb/visualization/ss-rotate.shtml
 
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I wonder how intelligent we would seem to an alien coming to look at earth. While we are individually intelligent, the human race taken as a whole is not very intelligent at all. Its done a whole load of very stupid things - over populating the world, over consuming the resources in its environment, reducing progress by continuously harming itself with various shiny weapons and most strangely finding out that its damaging its environment and then deliberately increasing the rate of damage.



That's a great piece of prose. I vividly remember reading "Cosmos" by Late Dr.Carl Sagan. He puts forward a benchmark to measure the progress of intelligent life. He put's us right near the bottom, labelling as "technichal and emerging civilization". He sneer's that we are not able to feed our fellow
beings, we are notoriously disunited into 240 nation states(With two nations controlling the fate of entire human race(The book was written during ending days of cold war)) , we still depend on our planet for fuel, we have great economic disparities among us. In the end he concludes that main danger to our civilization is self-destruction.

That's an excellent book.A must read.
[ August 11, 2005: Message edited by: Ramesh Choudhary ]
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Ramesh Choudhary:
In the end he concludes that main danger to our civilization is self-destruction.



If I was to bet on the most likely cause of the end of our modern civilisation, I'd put self-destruction as a far higher probability then the standard Hollywood things like diseases and asteroids. At the moment we are rapidly creating an incredibly complex and fragile structure of trade and communication around the world, and simple chaos theory suggests that the larger and more complicated a system is, the more likely it is to fail.

It kind of sounds a bit crazy though. How on earth can life-as-we-know-it fail? The capitalist-democracy system seems so solid to us. It wouldn't be the first time that there's been a massive failure of a previously confident society though. If you'd have asked a Roman in the first couple of centauries AD if the empire would ever have problems they'd have laughed at you, but shortly afterwards the entire Imperial system was swept away. Similar things have happened in China several times.

How much would it take though? A war, an economic crisis, climate change? Any, or a combination, of these could feasibly cause a chain reaction leading to the foundations of our society being somewhat shaken. Certainly it would take a lot to end civilisation entirely, but I don't think it would take much to cause large scale changes to it.

Remember also that the "dark ages" after the fall of the Roman Empire were not a case of civilisation ending. The dark ages even saw an increase in the level of technology in some areas (notably military and naval tech). The main changes were the end of the large scale Imperial system, massive migration, and more importantly a break down in long distance communication and data retention. All of these are all too easy to imagine happening again.
 
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
Problem is, most of these (including Persephone) have been taken up by asteroids. I wonder if there's a procedure for revoking the name of an asteroid? If not, then creating a new name may be best.




I'm with Arthur C. Clarke here. Why not Rama?
 
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If it is finally accepted as tenth planet of our solar system then it would be really interesting to know what our religious books, God's words, say about it.

On second thought I dont think much will change. After all it has been proven that God's word about earth being flat is wrong but still people are there who believe that man written books are words of God.

And who is going to destroy us? I believe that self-destruction is product of human psyche of awareness of only current issues.

If we believe in our history then any civilisation came to end because of some natural calamity or by invasion of superior/advance civilisation.

So either we would be destroying some civilisation if it is alien to us or alien civilisation would be ruining us.

And sometime I wonder who is more intelligent. An ant who has reached a state where society is self sufficient and survive. OR we, trying to conquer the nature.
 
Sameer Jamal
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Most of the thread in MD terminate this way they start as some subject but end up summarizing socio political structure of the world.
 
Paul Bourdeaux
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After all it has been proven that God's word about earth being flat...

Please don't hijack this thread. If you want to express your opinions about the differences or similarities between religion and science, there is another thread floating around here (or better yet, start your own!).
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:
Please don't hijack this thread.


It just came to my mind what would happen to those religious preachers if tenth planet is accepted by science community.

As it was realted to tenth planet, it came in mind while reading this thread only so I replied here.

If you want to express your opinions about the differences or similarities between religion and science,
Thanks for the suggestion.
Enough has been said and enough have been heard on same, here in MD.

You all please continue.
 
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