Sunday, August 13, 2006
KO'd By The KBOs Or Aren't Eight Planets Enough?
"Some panel members say they favor counting any object which is large enough that its gravity has made it round. If the object is spinning, a small bulge would be tolerated. "We're talking about no more than four or five new planets," says Iwan Williams.Actually, astronomer Michael Brown suggests on his website that if a planet is defined as any object made round by its own gravity, the Sun could go from having 9 planets to at least 53. (Here.)
Small potato-shaped asteroids wouldn't make the cut. But Ceres, a big round asteroid between Mars and Jupiter, might qualify. (Here.)"
If you were in space you wouldn't hear them, but those screams you hear on Earth are science teachers and astronomy students everywhere.
Here are the names of some larger Kuiper Belt Objects to get you started on your memorization: Orcus, Varuna, Quaoar, Sedna, Ixion, and Huya (apparently, the US Marines have their own planet way out there in the Kuiper Belt). The other KBOs don't have names yet; just a series of numbers and letters like, 2003UB313 and 2005RM43. (See Brown's handy chart here. Be sure to look at the scribbled mess that 53 orbits makes of the map of our solar system compared to the beautiful 9 orbits we have today.)
Technorati: Astronomy, Pluto,
IMHO, Pluto should remain a planet (grandfather clause).
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