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Post by Paulie pchris00 on Jul 12, 2011 10:01:18 GMT -6
I think Patrick was trying to say that our time is better spent engaging in a scientific conversation here than trying to reason with "Moontards" on GLP. Pluto merits, or lack thereof, for being considered a planet was just an example of a possible discussion.
I read all 14 pages of the thread linked to above, and it was a terrible waste of time. When I waste that much time online, there are usually several nude women involved. :-p
I posted a reply there, not that I expect it to do any good. I deal with too many idiots during the course of a normal day that I'd rather not seek them out online, too. from now on, I don't care what pseudo-science crap they are vomiting on other sites; I'm not getting involved, or even reading their threads. Total waste of my time.
Straight from Brother Guy J. Consolmagno, SJ mouth, one of the Vatican's Astronomers and I.A.U member,
Pluto was a Anti-American measure by the I.A.U.
Pluto is still a planet...as is Ceres.
Good science is far more than the memorizing of nomenclature, including lists of names of planets, that too many fourth grade teachers seem incapable of getting beyond. Nevertheless, far too many of their students maintain a lifetime emotional attachment to those lists. Scientists are aided in their research and theory development by rational classification systems. In 2006 the International Astronomical Union wisely came to realize that the dynamical structure of the solar system requires that Pluto be placed into a class of objects other than that of the major planets. Its physical and orbital characteristics make it something different. It wasn't a demotion (Pluto is not a person); it was a reclassification. Unfortunately, some of those with emotional attachments to the name Pluto only want to hear of planet definitions that Pluto would fit. Science is better than that.
It’s unfortunate that astronomers in 1930 failed to study more deeply the true nature of the little body they detected on photographs. Apparently some of them started to do just that, but when the media began declaring Pluto a planet, the astronomers directly involved became overcome with a false sense of pride and accepted the appellation. If they had considered the development of scientific understanding to be more important than becoming the “discoverer” of a planet, we may today be referring to the “Tombaugh” Belt rather than the Kuiper Belt. Our understanding of the origin, nature and evolution of the solar system could have progressed far more rapidly.
In 1930 plenty of evidence regarding Pluto’s unusual nature was overlooked, disregarded or dismissed with delusional explanations. In future centuries the young lab assistant Tombaugh essentially will be forgotten, but astronomer Gerard Kuiper’s name will be immortal. “Discovering” a celestial body when assigned to examine photographs is an insignificant accomplishment compared with discovering a natural law or a general characteristic of the solar system. Too bad for Clyde; he needed to be more diligent, especially after he finally entered college and earned a degree in astronomy.
Eventually the true nature of Pluto and its trans-Neptunian siblings became better understood, resulting in a shortening of the list of major planets. Students went through a similar catharsis when nineteenth century astronomers eventually accepted that asteroids belonged in a separate class from the major planets, resulting in your great-great-great grandfather having to grudgingly forget that Ceres, Pallas, Vesta, etc. were major planets. You can do the same with Pluto.
Please do not become the equivalent of a twenty-first century flat-earther and insist that lists memorized in grade school must be written in stone. Science moves onward and all of us can join in its intellectual development, as long as we choose to exercise our brains and avoid becoming stuck in mud.
Below is a link to the paper by American astronomer Steven Soter that provided the basis for the 2006 IAU ruling. In addition, the January 2007 issue of Scientific American had a feature article by Soter who provided a fine overview of the subject for laymen. You should be able to obtain a copy from the archives of your public library.