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Pluto Regains Its Title As Largest Object In Its Neighborhood 138

sciencehabit writes "In 2005 astronomers discovered Pluto's biggest neighborhood rival: Eris, which they claimed definitely surpassed Pluto in size. Now, as astronomers report an analysis of methane gas in Pluto's atmosphere suggests that Pluto is about 2368 kilometers across, in which case it's larger than Eris and thus the champ of the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt, which boasts more than a thousand known objects revolving around the sun beyond Neptune's orbit."
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Pluto Regains Its Title As Largest Object In Its Neighborhood

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  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:47PM (#46510343) Homepage Journal

    I remember it well -- before the anti Pluto is a Planet conspiracy. Good to see it's getting some recognition, rather than more damnation.

  • by Shalaska ( 1964046 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @05:14PM (#46510679)

    First off, Pluto was originally called a planet back before all of the objects that are in the same orbit as Pluto were spotted, thus under the definition that a planet must clear its orbit fails. Second if kilobytes are so clear and unambiguous, why do hard drive manufacturers consider them 1000 bytes when all computer scientists and programmers consider them 1024? []

  • by ChromaticDragon ( 1034458 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @06:53PM (#46511449)

    If you believe there's some pedantic reason to keep Pluto as a planet, I have to ask whether you hold the same views regarding Ceres.

    Ceres was "a planet for both the common and technical definitions for quite some time".

    The circumstances surrounding demotion of Ceres and Pluto are rather similar. The timeframe either of the two were considered planets is also similar.

    Now, what I find more interesting BOTH for this issue of Eris and Pluto and the argument over Planet classification is to look at MASS instead of diameter: [] []

    Look at this chart of bodies in our Solar System ranked by mass in a logarithmic chart. The eight planets unambiguously rank as the largest bodies. Eris still is more massive than Pluto. And all the dwarf planets are outranked by several moons.

    Yes definitions are arbitrary. But the eight planets stand apart. It does make sense to align definitions to match such. In any case, the definitions OUGHT to be consistent. What criteria other than inertia of publications would you prefer that keeps Pluto IN yet leaves Ceres OUT?

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27