Re: Feo2: Astronomers Dismiss NASA's claim to have found a New Planet

Posted by Pete Smith on Mar 17, 2004 at 17:07

Re: Feo2: Astronomers Dismiss NASA's claim to have found a New Planet (Feo Amante)

One thing astronomers seem to look at is that the object is clearly the largest body in that region of space. Each of the first eight planets is clearly the largest body in its region by a large margin. Other objects are often moons of that object.

The idea is that a planet is assumed to gather the bulk of the mass in a given region to itself. A region of space where this does not happen is not considered to contain a planet.

Ceres is not considered a planet because there are plenty of other objects of comparable, if smaller, size in the vacinity. Ceres is the "first among many" rather than the clear dominant body.

Pluto presents a problem because other objects in the area of Pluto of comparable size have been discovered in the past 12 years that make Pluto seem to be simply the largest of a new class of objects.

It will take time before the area of space around Sedna is thoroughly searched - it is well beyond the region of the Kuiper Belt and is the furthest object from the sun ever discovered. I have my doubts that anything that far will ever really be classified as a planet as it would be too difficult for such an object to gather enough mass to become one. At this distance matter is spread too thinly and one object will move too slowly to accumulate the bulk of mass in the region.


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup



[ Forum ] [ New Message ]