Thursday, August 17, 2006

:: adgruntie :: Planets swell to 12...maybe

+ With the introduction of 3 new planets to the solar system, we're going to need to come up with a new mnemonic for the planets. Currently it's "My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas" or "My Very Educated Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pies".
A committee convened by the International Astronomical Union has proposed a new class of planets called "plutons", or Pluto-like objects.

If the expert group's proposal is passed by the general assembly of the IAU at a meeting in Prague next Thursday, the new list of planets in the Solar System will be Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon and the awkwardly named 2003 UB313.

This line-up includes the eight classical planets, the plutons Pluto, Charon and 2003 UB313, and Ceres, the largest asteroid.
The Planet Definition Committee has spent 2 years reworking the definition of a planet.
Traditionally the word "planet", from the Greek for "wanderer", simply described a celestial object that appeared to roam the sky. According to the new draft definition, a planet must be in orbit around a star while not being itself a star, and must be large, or massive, enough for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape.
There are also 12 other planet candidates on the list due to the changing the definition of a planet.

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