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Plutoids: a new class of objects beyond Neptune, Astronomy, politics or damage control
Classification of Pluto
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ElkGroveDan
post Jun 13 2008, 05:48 PM
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QUOTE (tedstryk @ Jun 13 2008, 04:55 AM) *
Would asteroids in the Hermian region (near the orbit of Mercury) be considered Hemorrhoids?

Alan Stern beat you to that gag already


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laurele
post Jun 13 2008, 06:03 PM
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"Is this a joke?"

It depends on what the definition of "is" is.
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pumpkinpie
post Jun 13 2008, 06:23 PM
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QUOTE (Stu @ Jun 13 2008, 01:36 AM) *
And trust me, many of them now believe that, well, if small groups of astronomers can go around changing things like this, then astronomy IS a stuffy old science after all, for wild-haired scientists with patches on their elbows,

Then there's the problem in schools. Word hasn't filtered through the system into the classrooms yet, not here anyway

Hi Stu, and all,
I took over 10,000 Minnesota schoolkids on tours of the universe in my portable planetarium this year. I'd like to respond to the bolded items in your post.

Most of the time I let them decide what to explore in the solar system, and I'd say about 80% of the time someone wanted to go to Pluto. This was grades 2-9, all inclusive. And, when I asked the question, "what is Pluto?", most classes had at least one person who knew its current status. Most of the time it was a chorus of "dwarf planet!" So the new info is getting into the classrooms here. Kudos to Minnesota teachers! I got the impression that they didn't exactly know what that means, so I always made sure to give them a good explanation. Yes, it takes a while....but as you said above it's our job in outreach!

And I don't know exactly what the students come away "believing" when I tell them about the change in designation. (referring to the stuffy old astronomers.) I try to make the point that this is what is so exciting about astronomy. We are constantly discovering new things, and sometimes that has to change the way we see/categorize things. I sometimes use this analogy:

"Ceres was discovered about 200 years ago. At first it was thought to be a planet. Then astronomers learned that its size is very small compared to the Earth, and they started discovering more and more objects in its region. Eventually they realized it belonged to a different, new category, which they named asteriods." I tell them to keep that story in mind....

Once I get past Neptune, I say this:

"Pluto was discovered about 80 years ago. At first it was thought to be a planet. Then astronomers learned that its size is very small compared to the Earth, and by about 15 years ago they started discovering more and more objects in its region. It's like another asteroid belt out there! Eventually they realized it belonged to a different, new category, which they named Kuiper belt objects." Does that story sound familiar?

I like to think I'm doing a good job with the Pluto story. And I look forward to having to change it with new discoveries!
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ElkGroveDan
post Jun 13 2008, 07:06 PM
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As Alan noted above, we need to get away from this "is it or is it not" discussion. While Doug is off enjoying his holiday, the rest of us are going to be a bit faster on the ZAP button. So let's keep this on the terminology or the thread will be closed.


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SpaceListener
post Jun 13 2008, 07:30 PM
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I like tto Stephen proposal with the word thingy.But a slight change of idea, I would name all celestial objects as a relation dependency.

An example: The bigest of all celestial objects which is the center of all which we percibe would start with first digit, then the others seconds orbits around the biggest, start with its fews alphanumeric, and so on. An example

The center of all celestial objects: big_ban (AA)

Then the others galaxies orbits around the big_ban, an example: Milky (N23) (I am not astronomer but I would like to name it as its space coordinate) , then follows the others stars, Sun (S134), then follows others planets, Earth (4) then follows the others satellites, Moon (1) around the planets. The nomenclature would be: AA_N23_S134_4_1 or something alike. Other example, Titan: AA_N23_S134_7_1

With that nomenclature would permit to localize easier where is each celestial object is localized. We don't have to worry with the fight to classify these vast number of celestial objects still not discovered. Also, the future intergalactic travel would be easier where is the source and final destine for its trip.
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Stu
post Jun 13 2008, 10:10 PM
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QUOTE (alan @ Jun 13 2008, 05:26 PM) *
Lets keep this discussion light,
the Pluto is a planet , is not a planet, debate has been done to death
if a serious debate of the subject reappears the thread will be deleted.


With the greatest of respect, I think this has been a very light discussion actually, and generally respectful of Forum guidelines. The discussion has been about the word and classification of "plutoid", not really the more Pluto-specific one. I think it's a very healthy topic to discuss here, not just because the IAU has ressurected the topic itself by introducing the term "plutoid", but because this topic is, whether we like it or not, going to come up again and again in the future, in fact every time a new... um... 'thingy' beyond Neptune is discovered. wink.gif

But if we've got to the stage where there's a threat of the thread actually being deleted I suggest we all let this lie now now, lest these very valuable contributions to the debate end up in the bin, which would be a great shame.

I'd like to thank all the fellow Outreachers here for their suggestions and comments, all extremely useful. Can't wait to see what New Horizons shows us, and lets us share with our audiences in 2015...! smile.gif


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Greg Hullender
post Jun 13 2008, 10:59 PM
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Say, did I tell you guys I'm taking Linguistics classes at the University of Washington -- probably going to try for a Ph.D.

Anyway, I'd like to suggest that the Planet/River/Mountain terminology discussion would be improved a lot if everyone took a few minutes to read chapter six from O'Grady's "Comtemporary Linguistics: An Introduction," paying special attention to figure 6.2.

--Greg (What? And deprive you of the pleasure of reading it yourselves?) :-)
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imipak
post Jun 13 2008, 11:25 PM
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Everything's an object.
And they expose public methods, some of which they inherit from the base... oh, wait - wrong kind of language!



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David
post Jun 14 2008, 05:10 AM
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I have long since ceased to care whether Pluto is called a "planet" or not, and while I think "plutoid" is a silly name (and badly formed -- "plutonid" would have been better) it's no more silly or badly formed than a great many scientific names in wide use.

However, I think that the IAU could stand to reconsider what its role in matters like this is: is it to try to represent an existing scientific consensus, or is to to try to create that consensus by fiat? If the latter, can it really be effective, or does it risk undermining its own authority?
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nprev
post Jun 14 2008, 06:08 AM
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Hell with it; Tasp is right. We marklars have spent way too many marklars trying to decide if these marklars are marklars, or if in fact they are marklars.

(Greg, I DARE you to do a paper on the use of the word "marklar" in one of your linguistics classes! tongue.gif Congrats & best of luck, BTW!)

Hmm...What's sort of interesting in a Friday night half-drunk way is that substituting "marklar" for any noun might just reduce to a recently popular American slang phrase/mathematical identity: "It is what it is".


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Stu
post Jun 14 2008, 06:17 AM
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Just to put things in perspective...

Found a reference to this in a comment on another website... genius...

Yakko's Universe

No idea who "Yakko" is, but the song is a treat!


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dvandorn
post Jun 14 2008, 06:25 AM
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Stuart! You *cannot* seriously tell me you've never heard of the Animaniacs?

They were part of a set of cartoon shows created by Steven Spielberg back in the 90's that were often written to appeal to a wide range of audiences. Animaniacs featured a wide variety of short features, including the infamous Pinky and the Brain.

Spielberg brought a lot of keen insight into the genre to these shows. I was in my 40s when they were on the air, and I never, ever missed them.

In addition to Animaniacs and the later spun-off Pinky and the Brain, Spielberg also produced a show called Freakazoid that featured a truly deep set of referents within its referential matrix. For example, one episode was "sponsored" by the grocery store chain Anubis Foods, whose slogan was "Shop at the sign of the jackal-headed man!"

smile.gif

-the other Doug


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nprev
post Jun 14 2008, 06:28 AM
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smile.gif ...Stu, that's from a now-defunct US cartoon series called "Animaniacs"; good stuff. Executive producer was Steven Spielberg (gee, why feature space stuff considering he's on the TPS board, eh? tongue.gif ), and it was an attempt to recapture some of the magic of the '30s-'50s Warner Brothers cartoons.

Think there's a UK connection here, too. That song sure sounds a lot like another tune I heard in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, and that movie explained things as adequately as I've ever needed...

EDIT: Well, oDoug was all over it already! smile.gif Animaniacs is actually great fun for young & old; my daughter was a big fan, and she & I would watch them together.


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Stu
post Jun 14 2008, 06:30 AM
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Ah... "Animaniacs"... yes, heard of those, I didn't make the connection. Didn't catch that, sorry. Spielberg well ahead of his time again, as usual.


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Stu
post Jun 14 2008, 06:35 AM
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QUOTE (nprev @ Jun 14 2008, 07:28 AM) *
Think there's a UK connection here, too. That song sure sounds a lot like another tune I heard in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, and that movie explained things as adequately as I've ever needed...


Ah yes, you mean "The Galaxy Song"... laugh.gif


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