Happy Pluto Day!

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Peter Boulding

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Mar 7, 2009, 9:03:06 AM3/7/09
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Hard on the heels of the only-in-Britain story of the No Parking Tree comes
an only-in-America story in which the Illinois State Senate has passed the
following resolution:

<http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/96/SR/PDF/09600SR0046lv.pdf>

SENATE RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of the planet Pluto,
was born on a farm near the Illinois community of Streator; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Tombaugh served as a researcher at the
prestigious Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Tombaugh first detected the presence of Pluto
in 1930; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Tombaugh is so far the only Illinoisan and
only American to ever discover a planet; and
WHEREAS, For more than 75 years, Pluto was considered the
ninth planet of the Solar System; and
WHEREAS, A spacecraft called New Horizons was launched in
January 2006 to explore Pluto in the year 2015; and
WHEREAS, Pluto has three moons: Charon, Nix and Hydra; and
WHEREAS, Pluto's average orbit is more than three billion
miles from the sun; and
WHEREAS, Pluto was unfairly downgraded to a "dwarf" planet
in a vote in which only 4 percent of the International
Astronomical Union's 10,000 scientists participated; and
WHEREAS, Many respected astronomers believe Pluto's full
planetary status should be restored;

therefore, be it
RESOLVED, BY THE SENATE OF THE NINETY-SIXTH GENERAL
ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that as Pluto passes
overhead through Illinois' night skies, that it be
reestablished with full planetary status, and that March 13,
2009 be declared "Pluto Day" in the State of Illinois in honor
of the date its discovery was announced in 1930.

(I found the link address in a Good Morning Silicon Valley story titled
"Repealing the law of gravity would probably require a two-thirds
majority".)


Acceptance of the Illinois State Senate's ability to legislate the planetary
status of a chunk of rock leads to an interesting question: if Pluto is a
planet only during the periods when it "passes overhead through Illinois'
night skies" and is re-downgraded to "minor planet" status the rest of the
time, for what proportion of the time will it once more hold its full
planetary status? What constitutes "overhead" in this context: do we assume
that it is "overhead" whenever it passes through an area bounded by lines
that start at the centre of the earth and pass through Illinois' state
boundaries? If so, how often is Pluto once more a planet?

Note that your calculation must be halved, thanks to the resolution's "night
skies" wording: daytime transits don't count.


--
Regards, Peter Boulding
p...@UNSPAMpboulding.co.uk (to e-mail, remove "UNSPAM")
Fractal music & images: http://www.pboulding.co.uk/ and
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=794240&content=music

ZBicyclist

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Mar 7, 2009, 9:55:32 AM3/7/09
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As if the state government of Illinois wasn't enough of a laughing
stock already.
Thanks for the heads-up.

This passed the Senate, but I find no evidence of it on the House
side.
--
Mike Kruger
A face for radio, a voice for mime.


ZBicyclist

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Mar 7, 2009, 10:23:21 AM3/7/09
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Peter Boulding wrote:
> if Pluto is a planet only during the periods when it "passes
> overhead
> through Illinois' night skies" and is re-downgraded to "minor
> planet"
> status the rest of the time, for what proportion of the time will
> it
> once more hold its full planetary status? What constitutes
> "overhead"
> in this context: do we assume that it is "overhead" whenever it
> passes through an area bounded by lines that start at the centre
> of
> the earth and pass through Illinois' state boundaries? If so, how
> often is Pluto once more a planet?
>
> Note that your calculation must be halved, thanks to the
> resolution's
> "night skies" wording: daytime transits don't count.

Earth has a surface area of 196,940,400 square miles
http://pages.prodigy.net/jhonig/bignum/qland2.html
Illinois has a surface area of 57,918 square miles
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois
Thus, Illinois covera .0294% of the surface area of the earth.

Presumably, Illinois would, at best, be able to claim 0.0294% of the
sky.
As you note, this should be divided in two, to reflect the fact that
it's only "night" in Illinois half the time.
This means Pluto would be a planet .0147% of the time, or about 12
seconds a day, overall.

But the above calculation assumes that Illinois was randomly
located, rather than just randomly legislating. Illinois is in the
northern hemisphere, about 40 degrees north latitude, and so it
seems unlikely that the particular .0294% of the sky which would
most logically be allocated to Illinois would ever include Pluto,
although Pluto has a fairly eccentric orbit and may deviate a fair
amount from an equitorial plane. The equator of the earth also
tilts, which creates some further complications. These simple
calculational adjustments are left to the reader as an exercise.

Greg Goss

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Mar 7, 2009, 10:49:59 AM3/7/09
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Peter Boulding <p...@UNSPAMpboulding.co.uk> wrote:

>Acceptance of the Illinois State Senate's ability to legislate the planetary
>status of a chunk of rock leads to an interesting question: if Pluto is a
>planet only during the periods when it "passes overhead through Illinois'
>night skies" and is re-downgraded to "minor planet" status the rest of the
>time, for what proportion of the time will it once more hold its full
>planetary status? What constitutes "overhead" in this context: do we assume
>that it is "overhead" whenever it passes through an area bounded by lines
>that start at the centre of the earth and pass through Illinois' state
>boundaries? If so, how often is Pluto once more a planet?
>
>Note that your calculation must be halved, thanks to the resolution's "night
>skies" wording: daytime transits don't count.

Pluto is pretty far off the ecliptic, as planets go. But planets
don't go very far. And Illinois is pretty far from the equator. If
you're projecting an Illinois shaped wedge onto the night sky, I
suspect that Pluto wouldn't come near it.

So we must be talking about the times that Pluto is visible from the
night sky in Illinois. This could lead to great naming wars as other
authorities insist on a conflicting right to call Pluto a pizza.
--
Tomorrow is today already.
Greg Goss, 1989-01-27

ZBicyclist

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Mar 7, 2009, 11:37:17 AM3/7/09
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Good escape hatch, Greg.

It's likely Pluto is never visible in the night sky in Illinois.

If it was easy to see with anything other than very powerful
equipment located in an ideal location (like, say, Mt. Lemon in
Arizona or Mauna Kea on Hawaii) then it wouldn't have taken so long
to find it.

Mike Williams

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Mar 7, 2009, 12:43:57 PM3/7/09
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Wasn't it ZBicyclist who wrote:
>If it was easy to see with anything other than very powerful equipment
>located in an ideal location (like, say, Mt. Lemon in Arizona or Mauna
>Kea on Hawaii) then it wouldn't have taken so long to find it.

Once you know where it is, it's possible to see it in a 250mm telescope.

--
Mike Williams
Gentleman of Leisure

Peter Boulding

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Mar 7, 2009, 4:28:11 PM3/7/09
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On Sat, 07 Mar 2009 14:03:06 +0000, I wrote in
<kku4r4hnrajcjumh1...@4ax.com>:

>if Pluto is a
>planet only during the periods when it "passes overhead through Illinois'
>night skies" and is re-downgraded to "minor planet" status the rest of the
>time, for what proportion of the time will it once more hold its full
>planetary status?

Thanks, Mike K, Greg, and Mike W, for your Cecilworthy words of wisdom. I'm
not sure which is funnier: your comments or the original state senate
resolution; I wonder how many of the senators knew what they doing.

Lee Ayrton

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Mar 7, 2009, 6:53:44 PM3/7/09
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On Sat, 7 Mar 2009, Peter Boulding wrote:

> On Sat, 07 Mar 2009 14:03:06 +0000, I wrote in
> <kku4r4hnrajcjumh1...@4ax.com>:
>
>> if Pluto is a
>> planet only during the periods when it "passes overhead through Illinois'
>> night skies" and is re-downgraded to "minor planet" status the rest of the
>> time, for what proportion of the time will it once more hold its full
>> planetary status?
>
> Thanks, Mike K, Greg, and Mike W, for your Cecilworthy words of wisdom. I'm
> not sure which is funnier: your comments or the original state senate
> resolution; I wonder how many of the senators knew what they doing.

There's a test for that: Put in a commendation for Albert Desalvo and see
if they give it to him.

Lee "for efforts in the field of population control" Ayrton


--
"We weren't the first band to vomit in the bar, and find the distance to
the stage too far. Meanwhile its getting late at 10 o'clock, Rock is dead
they say." Long Live Rock.

Peter Boulding

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Mar 7, 2009, 10:00:01 PM3/7/09
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On Sat, 7 Mar 2009 18:53:44 -0500, Lee Ayrton <lay...@panix.com> wrote in
<Pine.NEB.4.64.09...@panix1.panix.com>:

>> Thanks, Mike K, Greg, and Mike W, for your Cecilworthy words of wisdom. I'm
>> not sure which is funnier: your comments or the original state senate
>> resolution; I wonder how many of the senators knew what they doing.

>There's a test for that: Put in a commendation for Albert Desalvo and see
>if they give it to him.

<Googles>

Damn, that's a commendably obscure reference.

Mark Brader

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Mar 7, 2009, 10:20:58 PM3/7/09
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Mikes Kruger and Williams wrote:
>> If it was easy to see with anything other than very powerful equipment
>> located in an ideal location (like, say, Mt. Lemon in Arizona or Mauna
>> Kea on Hawaii) then it wouldn't have taken so long to find it.

> Once you know where it is, it's possible to see it in a 250mm telescope.

Tombaugh detected it in photos taken with a 13-inch (330 mm) scope.
--
Mark Brader | "...i will have hideous nightmares involving huge
Toronto | monsters in academic robes carrying long bloody
m...@vex.net | butcher knives labelled Excerpt, Selection,
| Passage and Abridged." -- Helene Hanff

Mark Brader

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Mar 7, 2009, 10:21:37 PM3/7/09
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Peter Boulding writes:
> WHEREAS, Dr. Tombaugh is so far the only Illinoisan and
> only American to ever discover a planet...

Oooh, Michael Brown doesn't count, eh?

(It was bigger than Pluto; that makes it a planet.)
--
Mark Brader | "And so it went. Tens of thousands of messages,
Toronto | hundreds of points of view. It was not called the
m...@vex.net | Net of a Million Lies for nothing." --Vernor Vinge

My text in this article is in the public domain.

Bill Turlock

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Mar 7, 2009, 11:57:54 PM3/7/09
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Whew! Tired already! Too much exercise!

ZBicyclist

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Mar 8, 2009, 12:20:17 AM3/8/09
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Mark Brader wrote:
> Peter Boulding writes:
>> WHEREAS, Dr. Tombaugh is so far the only Illinoisan and
>> only American to ever discover a planet...
>
> Oooh, Michael Brown doesn't count, eh?
>
> (It was bigger than Pluto; that makes it a planet.)

Brown has a blog; the latest entry is interesting:

"You'll get to hear all about it in upcoming installments. Some of
the highlights upcoming include:
Name a satellite of a Kuiper belt object! I'll tell you about the
Kuiper belt object and its satellite and then I'll take suggestions
of what to name the satellite (and why). The best suggestion will
get forwarded to the IAU as the official recommendation."

http://www.mikebrownsplanets.com/

An idea of what type of thing he might look for is elsewhere:

"After 3 years of limbo and controversy, 2003 EL61, the fifth
"official" dwarf planet, now is named Haumea, after the Hawaiian
goddess of childbirth and fertility. The two satellites are named
after two of the children of Haumea, Hi'iaka and Namaka."

Naming it after Blinky the Shark would be a long shot, but maybe
others at AFCA can think of a credible scenario. Post your
suggestions via Google Groups.

Boron Elgar

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Mar 8, 2009, 10:43:27 AM3/8/09
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On Sat, 07 Mar 2009 21:20:58 -0600, m...@vex.net (Mark Brader) wrote:

>Mikes Kruger and Williams wrote:
>>> If it was easy to see with anything other than very powerful equipment
>>> located in an ideal location (like, say, Mt. Lemon in Arizona or Mauna
>>> Kea on Hawaii) then it wouldn't have taken so long to find it.
>
>> Once you know where it is, it's possible to see it in a 250mm telescope.
>
>Tombaugh detected it in photos taken with a 13-inch (330 mm) scope.


Back in the mists of time, I read a novelette entitled "To the
Tombaugh Station," by Wilson Tucker. There were two novelettes
included in the book, but instead of being one behind the other, as
one would usually find, in this binding the book was flipped over and
the second story read from the other side. The tome presented, then,
two pieces of cover art.

Wilson's piece was paired this way with one by Poul Anderson,
"Earthman Go Home."

BUT, even better than this oddity, is the incredible frikking
miraculousness of the Internet.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/t/wilson-tucker/to-tombaugh-station.htm

Boron

Lee Ayrton

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Mar 8, 2009, 2:35:26 PM3/8/09
to
On Sun, 8 Mar 2009, Peter Boulding wrote:

> On Sat, 7 Mar 2009 18:53:44 -0500, Lee Ayrton <lay...@panix.com> wrote in
> <Pine.NEB.4.64.09...@panix1.panix.com>:
>
>>> Thanks, Mike K, Greg, and Mike W, for your Cecilworthy words of wisdom. I'm
>>> not sure which is funnier: your comments or the original state senate
>>> resolution; I wonder how many of the senators knew what they doing.
>
>> There's a test for that: Put in a commendation for Albert Desalvo and see
>> if they give it to him.
>
> <Googles>
>
> Damn, that's a commendably obscure reference.

Why, thank you, sir.

bill van

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Mar 8, 2009, 2:43:25 PM3/8/09
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In article <0tl7r4ltk6ua34u99...@4ax.com>,
Boron Elgar <boron...@hootmail.com> wrote:

> Back in the mists of time, I read a novelette entitled "To the
> Tombaugh Station," by Wilson Tucker. There were two novelettes
> included in the book, but instead of being one behind the other, as
> one would usually find, in this binding the book was flipped over and
> the second story read from the other side. The tome presented, then,
> two pieces of cover art.
>
> Wilson's piece was paired this way with one by Poul Anderson,
> "Earthman Go Home."
>
> BUT, even better than this oddity, is the incredible frikking
> miraculousness of the Internet.
>
> http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/t/wilson-tucker/to-tombaugh-station.htm
>

Ace Doubles. A lot of SF used to be published that way; I think I still
have a few in the stacks.

Here's another:

http://people.uncw.edu/smithms/D-series/D-036.jpg

There are hundreds here, if not thousands:

http://people.uncw.edu/smithms/ACE_doubles.html

--
bill
remove my country for e-mail

Mark Brader

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Mar 8, 2009, 2:48:23 PM3/8/09
to
> Back in the mists of time, I read a novelette entitled "To the
> Tombaugh Station," by Wilson Tucker. There were two novelettes
> included in the book, but instead of being one behind the other, as
> one would usually find, in this binding the book was flipped over and
> the second story read from the other side...

Probably an Ace Double, then.
--
Mark Brader "'... Fifty science-fiction magazines don't give
Toronto you half the naked women that a good issue of
m...@vex.net the Sunday Times does.'" --SPACE, James Michener

Lee Ayrton

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Mar 8, 2009, 3:18:54 PM3/8/09
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On Sun, 8 Mar 2009, Lee Ayrton wrote:

> On Sun, 8 Mar 2009, Peter Boulding wrote:
>> On Sat, 7 Mar 2009 18:53:44 -0500, Lee Ayrton <lay...@panix.com> wrote in
>> <Pine.NEB.4.64.09...@panix1.panix.com>:
>>
>>>> Thanks, Mike K, Greg, and Mike W, for your Cecilworthy words of wisdom.
>>>> I'm
>>>> not sure which is funnier: your comments or the original state senate
>>>> resolution; I wonder how many of the senators knew what they doing.
>>
>>> There's a test for that: Put in a commendation for Albert Desalvo and see
>>> if they give it to him.
>>
>> <Googles>
>>
>> Damn, that's a commendably obscure reference.
>
> Why, thank you, sir.

P.S.:


For those look on, the proper Google search term is:

__"Albert Desalvo"_texas__

First hit.

Boron Elgar

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Mar 8, 2009, 5:31:39 PM3/8/09
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On Sun, 08 Mar 2009 11:43:25 -0700, bill van <bil...@shawcanada.ca>
wrote:

You are, of course, of the age that could remember them.

I am sure my copy of the above, plus a few others exist around here or
the ex's place. I used to get a kick out of the whole idea or a double
book.

Boron

Greg Goss

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Mar 9, 2009, 12:30:12 PM3/9/09
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m...@vex.net (Mark Brader) wrote:

>> Back in the mists of time, I read a novelette entitled "To the
>> Tombaugh Station," by Wilson Tucker. There were two novelettes
>> included in the book, but instead of being one behind the other, as
>> one would usually find, in this binding the book was flipped over and
>> the second story read from the other side...
>
>Probably an Ace Double, then.

She linked to a page with the cover art. Yup, an Ace.

There was at least one other brand that also did the flippable
doubles.

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