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Pluto - planet or KBO ?

Posted on 2006-05-31
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Last Modified: 2006-11-18
It fits the definition for both; it is one of the largest known KBO's, and with the IAU releasing a specific definition of "planet" in 2005, to be "a body larger than the smallest accepted planet, Pluto" -- Pluto would seem to be BOTH a planet and a KBO.

However, I was discussing this with a friend the other day, and he seems somewhat convinced that it cannot be both..

Is he correct? Why so?

Thanks
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Question by:InteractiveMind
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ozo earned 200 total points
ID: 16797091
Why does he think it cannot be both?
Which does he think that is is not?
Both terms are a bit fuzzy and arbitrary anyway, so maybe he is correct by his definitions.
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by:InteractiveMind
ID: 16797110
He didn't really justify why he doubts it can be both... I've sent him an email though, will let ya know his response.
He claims that it is not a KBO, but is a planet.
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by:InteractiveMind
ID: 16797112
Keeping in mind that it depends on what definition you go by; which one do you personally consider it to be?
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by:grg99
grg99 earned 100 total points
ID: 16797260
When does a big hill become a mountain?  1,000 feet?  3,000 feet? 5,000 feet?  

How long is a "trice"?

When exactly does one go from heavy making-out to "sex"?

Be sure to look both ways before crossing the street if you're thinking of these imponderables.

 

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by:ozo
ID: 16797268
I'm quite comfortable with things belonging to multiple categories.
But it seems to me that it would make more sense to excude it from the planet category than to exclude it from the KBO category.  
I also like standards, so people can agree about what they are talking about, and the
IAU definitions would have a larger following than my personal tastes.
"a body larger than the smallest accepted planet, Pluto" itself seems ambiguous though, since
Pluto is not larger than Pluto, although it is named as an accepted planet.
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by:JR2003
ID: 16797461
The word planet comes from the Greek term πλανήτης, planētēs, meaning "wanderer", as ancient astronomers noted how certain lights moved across the sky in relation to the other stars. I don't think there is an agreed definition of exactly what makes a planet and people still argue whether or not pluto is a planet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet
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by:JR2003
ID: 16797470
The word planet comes from the Greek term planetes, meaning "wanderer", as ancient astronomers noted how certain lights moved across the sky in relation to the other stars. I don't think there is an agreed definition of exactly what makes a planet and people still argue whether or not pluto is a planet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet
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by:d-glitch
d-glitch earned 200 total points
ID: 16797732
Clyde Tombaugh was looking for a planet when he discovered Pluto in 1930.

         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuiper_belt


So he called it a planet, putting it in an existing class rather than starting a new one with a single member.

The second object in the KBO class (Charon) wasn't discovered until 1978.

Pluto is certainly more like a KBO than any of the other planets.
The differences are worth understanding, but not arguing over.
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by:Infinity08
ID: 16798436
>> "a body larger than the smallest accepted planet, Pluto" itself seems ambiguous though, since
Pluto is not larger than Pluto, although it is named as an accepted planet.
That's not the only problem with the definition ... what about the sun ? Or any other star ? What about a moon bigger than Pluto ?
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by:NovaDenizen
ID: 16799719
Some more topics after we settle this one:

Republicans:  Good or Evil?
Democrats:  Good or Evil?
Beer:  Tastes great or Less filling?
Kimchi:  Tasty condiment or Smelly nuisance?
Gravity:  Burden or Beneficial?
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by:aburr
aburr earned 200 total points
ID: 16800490
Do not argue about the possible difficulties with the IAU definition of a planet until after you have read it.
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The definition can be found at
http://exoplanets.org/defn.html
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by:aburr
ID: 16800505
"Is he correct? Why so?"

The two classes are not mutually exclusive.
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by:JR2003
JR2003 earned 300 total points
ID: 16801388
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definition_of_Planet

The issue of a correct definition for planet came to a head in 2005 with the discovery of the trans-Neptunian object 2003 UB313, a body larger than the smallest accepted planet, Pluto. The International Astronomical Union, or IAU, which is the body responsible for resolving issues of astronomical nomenclature, has stated that it intends to release its final decision on the matter in September, 2006.

So it looks like we'll have to wait a few months for the definitive answer.
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by:aburr
ID: 16802282
JR2003 has provided an EXCELLENT link to a very complete discussion (and history) of the definition of planet.
(It is interesting to note that the article so referenced was updated today.)
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by:InteractiveMind
ID: 16802596
Awsome; okay, well, I shall post a new thread in September, and see what the latest is ;)

Thanks all  :)
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by:InteractiveMind
ID: 16802646
By the way, how do *you* pronounce "Kuiper"?

Most online sources seem to say "Kiper" (K with a long i)--rhymes with Viper, but others "Koyper", and others ....
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by:InteractiveMind
ID: 16802650
Ah, nvm, just as I submitted that, I noticed the pronounciation key for it, on the wikipedia page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuiper_belt

:)
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