Fashionable, but unable to tell fact from fiction (testing4l) wrote,
Fashionable, but unable to tell fact from fiction

Forget that mnemonic for the names of the nine planets! There's three more!

For a long while, there's been questions about whether Pluto should be called a planet. The IAU is going to vote in a definition on Thursday of next week which defines a planet as a mass which undergoes hydrostatic equilibrium and does not orbit another planet (which is to say that the center of its orbit is not a point located on or under the surface of another planet).

Therefore, not only is Pluto a planet, but Charon (a "moon" of Pluto's (though it's really a planet in its own right and the two of them are double planets)), Ceres (The largest asteroid in the belt between here and Mars), and UB 313 (casually known as "Xena" until the IAU adopts a better name for it).

An amusing thought -- I'm sure we've all at least heard of people going out to a field and pacing off from points in order to give a scaled down idea of how far apart the planets are. UB 313 is approximately twice as far out as Pluto. The Boston Museum of Science has a static exhibit with scale models of the planets. At present, Pluto is approximately 10 miles away. Aphelion for UB313 is 97.56 AU compared to Pluto's 49.31...that'd put it another 10 miles out of Boston.

In other space-related bits and tids, Voyager I -- the farthest flung manmade object at the moment -- just passed 100 AU from the sun.

At the moment, I'm doing the unthinkable and *not* playing nethack. I had a *very* good game -- good enough for #2 on the rankings on b. I lost when my character was zapped by a wand of death from a soldier -- an otherwise trivial monster. I never had a chance. I never ran across any magic resisting or reflecting items. Just zap. Dead. No chance to avoid it. =(

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