March 10, 2003

Second in popularity only to actually observing stars, astronomers are once again debating what, exactly, a planet is. Depending on which way the argument goes this time, we might "lose" Pluto or "gain" Ceres, Quaoar, and Varuna.

One of the things that has always struck me about Pluto is how different its orbit is compared to the rest of the planets. All the others orbit in essentially the same plane, with (as I recall) less than 5 degrees difference. Pluto's is inclined very steeply, with its apogee well "above" the other planets.

Posted by scott at March 10, 2003 09:20 AM

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It's also in a sort of dual orbit with a "moon" of similar size to itself.

Posted by: Sherri on March 10, 2003 11:52 AM

Charon. Yeah. As I understand it, the Earth is in a similar situation (time for research!)

Posted by: scott on March 10, 2003 11:58 AM

I remember that NASA was saying there may be another "planet" beyond Pluto. Haven't heard too much since.
Hey, if we can re-write history, why not astronomy.

Posted by: Cindy on March 10, 2003 11:47 PM
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