Adler Staff Comments on the Pluto Debate... Aug 16, 2006 20:36:14 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Aug 16, 2006 20:36:14 GMT -6
Scientists' Tally Of Planets Getting Confusing
CBS TV News/Ch.2
(CBS) CHICAGO Scientists now say we have new neighbors. Forget what you learned about nine planets. Astronomers think they've discovered three new ones.
That news is rocking the world, and universe, of CBS 2's Jon Duncanson.
If scientists have their way, everything you know about your universe may be wrong.
We asked the Adler Planetarium'sLarry Ciupik how there could be 12 planets today, and 8 just a few weeks ago.
“I thought there was nine, actually. But they kicked Pluto out and then they brought Pluto back,” Ciupik said.
Astronomers dropped Pluto from the planet club, then changed their minds and added three more.
We asked one young visitor to the planetarium what she thought of all that. “It’s very confusing,” she said.
Confusing and rattling the foundations of our metaphysical existence.
What are we supposed to make of our special place in the universe if they keep changing the universe we live in?
We asked another visitor if it bothered him that scientists keep changing the planets.
“No. Not in the least. Not really.”
How many planets does Ciupik think they'll end up with? 30? 40? “Well, given this it'll perhaps be more than 50,” Ciupik said.
We asked Northwestern University sociologist Bernard Beck how scientists could keep changing their minds.
“Think of it this way: scientists like everybody else have to make a living. And in science making a living depends on coming up with new results,” Beck said.
So really, we’re just lost in space, with more planet names to memorize.
“Well, I really think you should just grin and enjoy it,” Ciupik said.
Astronomers around the world will vote on Aug. 24 to change the number of planets in our solar system, officially, to 12.