[meteorite-list] 2003 UB313 Reignites a Planet-Sized Debate

From: Chris Peterson <clp_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue Feb 7 17:05:36 2006
Message-ID: <009301c62c24$8099b680$f551040a_at_bellatrix>

My preferred definition is entirely unscientific:

Any of the nine planetary bodies orbiting the Sun that have been
traditionally called "planets". This includes usage in mythology,
literature, and scientific publications.

This leaves the IAU free to define any number of new terms to describe
bodies orbiting a star. These definitions can take into account size, shape,
orbital plane, composition, origin, and anything else that is
_scientifically_ relevant. It takes "planet" off the table completely as a
formal term, doesn't create confusion by redefining a term that is already
in common usage, and pretty much should eliminate controversy.

I expect that the reality is, no matter how the IAU defines "planet", the
vast majority of the lay public will continue to use the term as I defined
it above, meaning that when scientists use the term outside their
disciplines, they will need to add qualifications.


Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory

----- Original Message -----
From: "Matson, Robert" <ROBERT.D.MATSON_at_saic.com>
To: "Sterling K. Webb" <sterling_k_webb_at_sbcglobal.net>; "Meteorite Mailing
List" <meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 12:39 PM
Subject: RE: [meteorite-list] 2003 UB313 Reignites a Planet-Sized Debate

> The definition of a planet that I've encountered that I like
> best is pretty scientifically concise and simple:
> Any natural body orbiting a star that has a mass greater than the
> sum of the masses of all other objects in a similar orbit.
Received on Tue 07 Feb 2006 03:14:22 PM PST

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