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October 04, 2005

What is a Planet? Controversy Re-ignited by New Find

Yaa-a-a-awn. OH.
Excuse me:


"The discovery of a tiny moon circling the most distant object seen in the solar system is further proof that the view of a tidy solar system with nine planets - enshrined in science-fair dioramas and school textbooks - is headed toward almost certain revision."

Wow. Oh, I am so tired all of a sudden. Hold on. I have to lie down. Read this;

In July, astronomers announced the discovery of what they considered the 10th planet, an icy world that swings 9 billion miles away from the sun and is almost certainly larger than Pluto. This weekend, they declared this object, informally known as Xena, also has a most planetlike feature: a moon.

Whether Xena is in fact a planet will be the decision of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which could instead begin a far more fundamental reexamination of what a planet is.

Oh. That is spine-tingling. I can barely stand it. "Informally known as Xena." Do any of you geeks not know where they're coming from? I mean really. Xena.
Let's just name it 'Big-breasted Bi-Goddess of the Magical Leather Bustier.'

Then again, Xena could redefine what a planet is. "It's going to reignite the planet debate," says Marcos van Dam, breathing heavily into his retainer with barely concealed arousal.
Ok, I screwed with that last quote. Can you blame me?
Last year, they found Sedna, a curiously reddish body with its own moon. Now, with Xena, they have found a Kuiper Belt object larger than Pluto, and they could find scores more such "planets" - leading IAU to reconsider the term.

None of them, however, will probably be named after TV show characters, like Xena the Warrior Princess. Xena is technically named 2003 UB313 and will remain so until the IAU decides whether it is a planet. And IAU chooses the name itself.

Oh trust me. It's Xena. Geeks don't let go of that shit.
You dance with them ONCE at a party, and they call you for fucking weeks on end. 'I thought we were really connecting,' 'You said you had a good time,' 'You swore to me that your molten iron core was surrounded by a light crust of continental rock,' ETC.

Pretty cool, the planet definition thing. What is it about us that has to classify a thing, anyway?


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posted by LauraW. at 10:57 PM

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