Tag Archives: pluto

What is a planet: problems with the current definition

Yesterday, while eating lunch, I got around to reading the article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN “What Is A Planet”, by Steven Soter. The article tries to address the rationale for the new definition of a planet, and why Pluto no longer meets that definition.

I can’t say that I disagree with the definition as presented. The definition is based more or less on the orbital characteristics of a body, how much it sweeps clean of it’s surroundings, and the ratio of the body’s mass as compared to the total mass of all other objects in its orbital zone. These are fairly measurable things and seem to support the categorization as it has been made.

I do have some problems with the definition, however, one scientific, the other semantic.

Read why I think the new definition has problems

Pluto’s pink slip

With all of the hooplah going on about Pluto losing it’s status as a classical planet and being relagated to something called a “dwarf planet”, I completely agree with what Ken Jennings has to say on the matter. It is science and science is a self-correcting medium. Things change.

However, I can picture the SNL skit already (I haven’t watched SNL in years): we see Donald Trump in the boardroom, and he’s laying into to someone off camera. “You’re too small. You don’t think big enough. And your slow. It takes you nearly 250 years to do your thing. No, I’m sorry, you’ve fallen way behind the other team members and we can’t just have this. So, Pluto: you’re fired!

(I’ve always wanted to say that!)

It amuses me, however, for a completely different reason. I’m overjoyed at the havoc this will wreak with astrologers.