Planetary Status Officially Stripped From Ninth Rock From The Sun | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Airborne On ANN

Airborne 09.19.16

Airborne 09.20.16

Airborne 09.21.16

Airborne 09.22.16

Airborne 09.23.16

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Airborne 09.19.16

Airborne 09.20.16

Airborne 09.21.16

Airborne 09.22.16

Airborne 09.23.16

Fri, Aug 25, 2006

Planetary Status Officially Stripped From Ninth Rock From The Sun

Pluto: Denied!

Pity the poor little planet that almost was, Pluto. The stellar body was only discovered less than 100 years ago... is named for the God of the underworld... and has the dubious honor of having a Disney character named after it. For years, astronomers have criticized the classification of Pluto as a planet, saying the small orbital body is little more than a cosmic straggler in Earth's solar system.

Well... at a meeting of leading astronomers in Prague to finally come to a definition of just what, exactly, constitutes a planet... they decided that Pluto wasn't, and stripped it of its planetary status for good. The historic vote by the International Astronomical Union officially shrinks Earth's neighborhood from the traditional nine planets to eight.

And what, you may ask, is so great about those "classic" planets?

According to the new definition, they are all celestial bodies that orbit a sun, have sufficient mass for their own gravity to cause the bodies to assume a nearly round shape, and their orbits do not intersect with those of neighboring planets.

It's that last point that led the ninth rock from the sun to fall from planetary grace... as Pluto's oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's.

So as of Thursday... Pluto is now a "dwarf" planet, along with past planetoids (formerly termed "minor" planets) that meet the first two standards. Moons will still be classified as a separate category -- and most asteroids, comets and other small objects will be called "small solar-system bodies."

Got all that?

"NASA will, of course, use the new guidelines established by the International Astronomical Union," said Dr. Paul Hertz, Chief Scientist for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. "We will continue pursuing exploration of the most scientifically interesting objects in the solar system, regardless of how they are categorized."

That means the New Horizons probe, sent up in January on a multi-year mission to explore Pluto, will proceed on schedule...  albeit with, perhaps, a tad less glamour.

While many will lament the passing of Pluto as a planet... in the end, astronomers say, it was simpler this way... as classifying Pluto as a planet would have also allowed other celestial bodies to be termed as such -- possibly resulting in as many as 53 "new" planets.

Think of all the textbooks and encyclopedias that would have needed to be rewritten if THAT had happened... as it stands, all it will take to modify those books is a thick marker.

FMI: www.iau.org, www.nasa.gov

Advertisement

More News

Aero-News: Quote of the Day (09.25.16)

"Amassing four million flight hours is a testament to the reliability of RPA systems that are designed, built, and maintained by a dedicated group of skilled and innovative profess>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (09.25.16): Discrete Code

Discrete Code As used in the Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System (ATCRBS), any one of the 4096 selectable Mode 3/A aircraft transponder codes except those ending in zero zero; >[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (09.25.16)

Aero Linx: International Aviation Services Organization (IASO) International Aviation Services Organization (IASO) is a non-government organization, Ground Handling Industry Leader>[...]

ANN FAQ: What Does The API Mean To You

Engaging The Aviation World's Pivotal Organizations, Interests And Viewpoints The Airborne Partnership Initiative, we call it the API, is a plan developed by ANN CEO and Editor-In->[...]

Airborne 09.22.16: NATA v Santa Monica, Xodiac And XaeroB, Sikorsky Early?

Also: Solo Circumnavigation, Redbird Migration, Hartzell Propeller, WACO Air Museum, Corporate Angel, Legion Pod, Delta Compensation Last week two fixed base operations located on >[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2016 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC