Hopkins University Share thoughts on Pluto... Aug 25, 2006 15:04:41 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Aug 25, 2006 15:04:41 GMT -6
Astronomers React to Pluto's Planetary 'Demotion'
Several Johns Hopkins University astronomers described a decision Thursday to strip Pluto of its planetary status as a "muddled" ruling that is unlikely to settle ongoing debates over how to define a planet and whether the term should apply to Pluto. In an informal poll, only one astronomer was pleased to hear about Pluto’s new status.
* Andrew Cheng, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory: “I think the IAU vote is a muddled compromise that will not settle the question of ‘What is a planet?’ Pluto is not a ‘planet’ according to resolution 1, but it is a ‘dwarf planet’ by resolution 2. So is it a ‘planet?’ I thought so before and still think so now -- but those who did not think so before can now point to the IAU definition and say that Pluto is really not a planet but a sort of second-class citizen. “Actually, that is the same situation that has prevailed with Ceres.
* I'm with Andy Cheng in concluding that the situation is still somewhat muddled. What exactly is meant by a planet ‘clearing its neighborhood?' Since many ‘plutinos’ … (including Pluto) … cross Neptune’s orbit, I'd say Neptune's neighborhood still needs some clearing!
* Karl Glazebrook, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy:
“What is meant by ‘clearing its orbit?’ How does this relate to having an orbit overlapping Neptune? Clearly Neptune has not cleared its orbit. “They should have gone with something clean like a size criterion. The issue will have to be revisited again.”
* William P. Blair, research professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, I don't find the wording of the official planet definition to be very clear, and hence it will continue to be open to interpretation.
* Richard Conn Henry, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy:
“I am delighted that rationality has prevailed! Keep in mind that our own Sun is a dwarf star ... and Pluto is now a dwarf planet! Pluto is an extremely interesting and important object, and I am overjoyed that NASA's New Horizons mission is on its way to Pluto! Hurrah for Pluto, first dwarf planet to be visited by a NASA mission!”
The clearing up of the local neighborhood is quite asinine. I understand that only 5% of the present astronomers in Prague voted on this. Not representative, and where the hell were the rest?!!
A goofy and elitist bunch - Astronomers...