Eight Planets

We’re headed back to the 1920s, when American public schools didn’t teach evolution, rapidly industrializing countries bitched about their need to conquer and subjugate other countries, the rich owned the poor even in the developed world, and there were only eight planets.

See, instead of defining planets to mean spherical bodies that orbit the Sun, the International Astronomers’ Union has defined planets to mean objects that satisfy those two conditions and that are big enough to clear their neighborhood of other bodies. So Ceres is out since it orbits along with countless other asteroids, and Pluto is out because it crosses Neptune’s orbit.

9 Responses to Eight Planets

  1. SLC says:

    There has been a theory around for a long time that Pluto was once a moon of Neptune which was detached sometime in the distant past, presumably due to the gravitational influence from the approach of another star.

  2. rrusick says:

    [..] Pluto is out because it crosses Neptune’s orbit.

    Wouldn’t this dequalify Neptune too?

  3. Alon Levy says:

    Well, there’s an orbital resonance between Neptune and Pluto – if I remember correctly, Neptune’s orbital period is exactly two thirds of Pluto’s – so Pluto is not affected by Neptune’s clearing-out. It’s similar to how the Trojan asteroids are able to remain in Jupiter’s orbit by clustering around Jupiter’s Lagrangian points.

    Why this disqualifies Pluto is beyond me, but I think it has a lot to do with the number of other Kuiper Belt objects that either frequently cross its orbit or come fairly close to it.

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