Hayden and Pluto

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Frank Summers

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Jan 26, 2001, 8:00:28 PM1/26/01
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The press seems to have noticed (after a year) that the Hayden Planetarium
has taken a modern stance on the solar system in general and on Pluto in particular.
The dome-l listserv has a bunch of folks decrying us yet again as heretics of the
planetarium world.

What are the opinons here on s.a.p? What do you teach your visitors about Pluto?
Do you ignore it, or simply call it an oddball, as most do? What benefit to your
visitors does a discussion of Pluto have?

At Hayden, we were creating exhibts that we expected to be around for several
decades and wanted to develop a coherent approach to planetary systems (not just
our own). As I'll outline below, given the growing scientific evidence as well as the
logical and educational benefits, we felt the only justifiable stance was the progressive
one. Further, if our exhibits can help raise discussion and promote the use of the
scientific method in evaluating an accepted "fact", then all the better for promoting
critical thinking and exemplifying the self-correcting nature of science.

To clarify, our view is that the solar system contains 6 families of objects. (1) A star
called the Sun. (2) The rocky planets (aka terrestrial planets). (3) The asteroids, mainly
found in the asteroid belt. (4) The gas giant planets (aka jovian planets). (5) The
Kuiper Belt of comets. (6) The Oort cloud of comets. (Note that to be technical, one
could say "dormant comets" on the last two categories, but that is splitting hairs for the
public).

Each of these families has a number of characteristics that pulls them together as a
logical group. Pluto naturally fits in with the Kuiper Belt, as its characteristics are
almost exactly llike the other few hundred Kuiper Belt objects. Currently Pluto is the
largest, but note that a KBO as large as Ceres (about 70% Pluto's diameter) has just
been discovered. The only exceptional characteristic left for Pluto is that it is a double
object, orbiting with Charon around their center of mass. Kuiper Belt experts don't
expect that exceptional characteristic to continue for long either, especially if we get a
satellite misison to the outer solar system.

The best thing about this view of the solar system is that it tells you about something
important: the structure of the solar system. Looking at the solar system as 6 familes
of objects leads naturally into a discussion of how the solar system formed - how did
these families develop from the collapse of the solar nebula? That is science. Who
cares about the numerology of 8 or 9 planets? That teaches memorization. We want
to convey understanding.

Given the discoveries of the last decade, and after talking with dozens of our colleagues,
we felt the only reasonable position for an exhibit that will stand the test of time is
the one we adopted. We welcome discussion. We apologize to Pluto lovers and all
the children at Clyde Tombaugh Elementray School. But the scientific merits no longer
support viewing Pluto as a planet. In fact, if there's anything that the discoveries of
other planetary systems have taught us, it is that we don't really know what a general
planetary system is like, and we don't have a universal definition of a planet.

Personally, I look forward to the new discoveries and to being surprised by the
diversity of planetary systems we will find. Fresh views are good for science.

Frank Summers
Hayden Planetarium

Rod Mollise

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Jan 26, 2001, 8:48:02 PM1/26/01
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>In fact, if there's anything that the discoveries of
>other planetary systems have taught us, it is that we don't really know what
>a general
>planetary system is like, and we don't have a universal definition of a
>planet.
>


HI Frank:

If the above is emphasized--and you perhaps some recognition is given to the
fact that there are other and also perfectly valid opinions on Pluto--I see no
problem with this stance. Me? I favor the "oddball" approach with my astronomy
students...but maybe, I fear, because I am too sentimental to let the 9th
Planet go! :-)

Peace,
Rod Mollise
Like SCTs and MCTs?
Check-out sct-user, the mailing list for CAT fanciers!
Goto <http://members.aol.com/RMOLLISE/index.html> and click the "sct-user"
logo...!
**********************************************************************

Craig MacDougal

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Jan 26, 2001, 11:33:50 PM1/26/01
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Frank Summers <vze2...@mail.verizon.net> wrote in message
news:3A721E2B...@mail.verizon.net...

> The press seems to have noticed (after a year) that the Hayden Planetarium
> has taken a modern stance on the solar system in general and on Pluto in
particular.

Yes, I found that to be a bit amusing. I knew from the get-go how y'all were
depicting the solar system from John Pazmino's running documentary during
the destruction/construction that was posted here and on FidoNet. After a
year somebody went "HEY........ where's Pluto?"

> The dome-l listserv has a bunch of folks decrying us yet again as heretics
of the
> planetarium world.

Yea well, it's the usual excitable people. (Who shall remain nameless unless
they choose to take me to task here. Of course then I won't have to name
them.) <grin>

> What are the opinons here on s.a.p? What do you teach your visitors about
Pluto?
> Do you ignore it, or simply call it an oddball, as most do

We still call it a planet to our school kids. We point out the similarities
to the other Kuiper Belts Objects, and explain that's why there is some
discussion as to whether it should be called a planet or not.

Our school shows are done live. We show a lot of what we know about the
planets, but the students often ask good questions that I have to answer "We
don't know yet. Maybe you will be the one to figure it out."

There is certainly a lot we don't know about Pluto or the KBOs. My gut
feeling is that Pluto will remain a planet for historical reasons. It won't
be the first time that we hung onto a name or classification that is
rendered obsolete by new data. (Planetary nebula being my favorite example.)

Clear Skies,

Craig MacDougal
Planetarium Coordinator
MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry)
4801 East Fowler Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33617

email: cmacd...@mosi.org
office: 813-987-6339
fax: 813-987-6364
web: www.mosi.org

dennis jennings

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Jan 27, 2001, 7:51:13 AM1/27/01
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you mean that "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzapies"
has to be redone to "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos and
cheese"

Frank Summers

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Jan 27, 2001, 10:40:36 AM1/27/01
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dennis jennings wrote:

My favorite re-wording is: "My Very Eccentric Mother Just Spoke Utter Nonsense"
It has a memorable level of absurdity and sneaks in the word "eccentric". However,
using "Nachos" or another N food requires the least change.

Of course, if one wants to do a complete inventory, then one has to do a mnemonic
for SMVEMABJSUNKBOC. Any takers on that? I'll have to ponder it myself.

Frank


Frank Summers

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Jan 27, 2001, 10:51:54 AM1/27/01
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Rod Mollise wrote:

> >In fact, if there's anything that the discoveries of
> >other planetary systems have taught us, it is that we don't really know what
> >a general
> >planetary system is like, and we don't have a universal definition of a
> >planet.
> >
>
> HI Frank:
>
> If the above is emphasized--and you perhaps some recognition is given to the
> fact that there are other and also perfectly valid opinions on Pluto--I see no
> problem with this stance. Me? I favor the "oddball" approach with my astronomy
> students...but maybe, I fear, because I am too sentimental to let the 9th
> Planet go! :-)

Our exhibit states exactly this sentiment - that there is no universal definition of a planet,
and only a working definition in our solar system.

I agree that it is not easy to let go of long held notions. We had many long discussions
before adopting our position. But once we realized the organizational and educational
benefit to talking about the families of objects in the solar system, there was no looking
back. We are, of course, acknowledging of the other views and are careful to never
speak of "8 planets" or explicitly decry Pluto as not a planet. We felt that would be
needlessly inflammatory. We keep our wording to the skew of the families and note
that Pluto best fits with the Kuiper Belt family.

Frank Summers
Hayden Planetarium


Marty

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Jan 27, 2001, 11:48:25 AM1/27/01
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I tend to be a "Pluto man." One can persuasively argue either
direction here, and Pluto can hardly even be "grandfathered in" as a
planet... there are a lot of people energetically walking around that
were born before Pluto was discovered. But calling Pluto a planet won't
hamper research. I'd think most astronomer types would know what
they're dealing with. And as for educating the public, one can say,
"The planet Pluto actually turned out to be the first discovered, and
possibly largest Kuiper Belt object."
Astronomical classifications over the eons have turned out to be a
delightfully complex hash, reflecting the complexity of astronomical
history. Right now, we've got about 70 years of printed material
calling Pluto a planet, and it's a sentimental favorite of the public.
I'd tend to forget technical fine points here, and coldbloodedly USE
Pluto the planet to teach the public about it's part of the solar
system.
Besides, I call it a planet. So there.
Marty

Esmail Bonakdarian

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Jan 27, 2001, 12:46:21 PM1/27/01
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> I tend to be a "Pluto man."
<..>

> Besides, I call it a planet. So there.


What better reason could there be?? :-)
I'm with Marty on this one!

Esmail
--
Esmail Bonakdarian - esm...@uiowa.edu - http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~bonak

SabiaJohn

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Jan 27, 2001, 1:13:14 PM1/27/01
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Frank,
Last year I visited the new Rose Center. I did know about the ommision of
Pluto before my visit. As there is much to expierence there I did not see a
written statement, or do not recall reading it at this time, of the explantion
of the 8 Planet Solar System, or the view of the 6 categories you mention in a
previous posting. Sometimes I miss itemss that are under my nose.

Is there such a written display in the Center and where can I see it on my next
visit? Would like to know may inform others who ask me what the story with the
8 planets at the Hayden.


John D. Sabia

Frank Summers

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Jan 27, 2001, 3:31:59 PM1/27/01
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SabiaJohn wrote:

> Frank,
> Last year I visited the new Rose Center. I did know about the ommision of
> Pluto before my visit. As there is much to expierence there I did not see a
> written statement, or do not recall reading it at this time, of the explantion
> of the 8 Planet Solar System, or the view of the 6 categories you mention in a
> previous posting. Sometimes I miss itemss that are under my nose.
>
> Is there such a written display in the Center and where can I see it on my next
> visit? Would like to know may inform others who ask me what the story with the
> 8 planets at the Hayden.

Yes, there is a lot to see and, for a month or two, the planet display was not
functioning properly, so one can not be blamed for missing it.

The main discussion of the planets is on the bottom floor in the Hall of the Universe.
There are four "walls" of exhibitry here: Planets (green highlighted text), Stars
(yellow), Galaxies (blue), and Universe (white). At the beginning of the Planets
wall, there is a panel with the question "What is a Planet?". At the bottom is a
rolling display that goes through the six families in the solar system. I believe that
there are actually seven stops on this rolling display, as Pluto gets its own discussion
in addition to the Kuiper Belt discussion.

It is not really highlighted in the display, as most of the Planets wall is about
comparative planetology - showing how the same physical forces are at work
throughout all the bodies of the solar system. Again, we try to emphaisze the
similarities to show a common thread and get across the idea that studying
other planets teaches us about Earth, and vice-versa.

Frank


Frank Summers

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Jan 27, 2001, 4:00:31 PM1/27/01
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Frank Summers wrote:

> Of course, if one wants to do a complete inventory, then one has to do a mnemonic
> for SMVEMABJSUNKBOC. Any takers on that? I'll have to ponder it myself.

Some May View Elegant Mnemonics As Boring, Just Some Useless Nonsensical
Knowldege, But Others Cheer

Bill Ferris

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Jan 28, 2001, 9:52:09 PM1/28/01
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Frank Summers wrote:
>What are the opinons here on s.a.p? What do you teach your visitors about
>Pluto? Do you ignore it, or simply call it an oddball, as most do? What
benefit to
>your visitors does a discussion of Pluto have?

Although this is the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup--not
sci.astro.planetarium--several of us have been or are involved in public
science education. Pluto is a great stepping off point for a discussion of what
makes an object a planet. Pluto is also a logical starting place for a
discussion of the Edgeworth/Kuiper Belt.

>At Hayden, we were creating exhibts that we expected to be around for several
>decades and wanted to develop a coherent approach to planetary systems (not
>just >our own).

Well, the science of astronomy is constantly changing. If you expect your
exhibits to be relevant five years from now without changes or updates, you're
expecting too much.

>As I'll outline below, given the growing scientific evidence as
>well as the logical and educational benefits, we felt the only justifiable
stance was the
>progressive one.

Describing a stance as progressive makes it sound as though you'd made up your
mind well in advance.

>Further, if our exhibits can help raise discussion and promote the use
>of the scientific method in evaluating an accepted "fact", then all the better
for
>promoting critical thinking and exemplifying the self-correcting nature of
science.
>
>To clarify, our view is that the solar system contains 6 families of objects.
>(1) A star called the Sun. (2) The rocky planets (aka terrestrial planets).
(3) The
>asteroids, mainly found in the asteroid belt. (4) The gas giant planets (aka
jovian planets).
>(5) The Kuiper Belt of comets. (6) The Oort cloud of comets. (Note that to be
>technical, one could say "dormant comets" on the last two categories, but that
is splitting
>hairs for the public).
>
>Each of these families has a number of characteristics that pulls them
>together as a logical group. Pluto naturally fits in with the Kuiper Belt, as
its
>characteristics are almost exactly llike the other few hundred Kuiper Belt
objects.

How many EKBOs have an atmosphere? How many have seasons? How many have a
natural satellite larger than the largest asteroid?

>Currently Pluto is the largest, but note that a KBO as large as Ceres
>(about 70% Pluto's diameter) has just been discovered.

The size of the object is not known. The estimate you list is based on an
assumption about the object's albedo which yields a reasonable estimate. The
object could be larger or smaller.

>The only exceptional characteristic left for Pluto is that it is a double
object, orbiting with >Charon around their center of mass. Kuiper Belt experts
don't expect that exceptional >characteristic to continue for long either,
especially if we get a
>satellite misison to the outer solar system.

If you answer the questions I posed above, you'll find that Pluto stands apart
from the KBOs in several areas.

>The best thing about this view of the solar system is that it tells you about
>something important: the structure of the solar system. Looking at the solar
system as
>6 familes of objects leads naturally into a discussion of how the solar system
formed -
>how did these families develop from the collapse of the solar nebula? That is
>science. Who cares about the numerology of 8 or 9 planets? That teaches
memorization. We
>want to convey understanding.

Young children don't have the foundational knowledge to gain that kind of
understanding. Memerizing the names of the planets and their order from the Sun
is a good first step in learning about the solar system in that it provides a
framework within which undertanding can take form.

>Given the discoveries of the last decade, and after talking with dozens of
>our colleagues, we felt the only reasonable position for an exhibit that will
stand the test
>of time is the one we adopted. We welcome discussion. We apologize to Pluto
lovers and
>all the children at Clyde Tombaugh Elementray School. But the scientific
merits
>no longer support viewing Pluto as a planet.

By adopting that position, you've moved from teaching to being advocates for a
position in a debate that is ongoing within the scientific community. Your view
may be that Pluto should not be classified as a planet. However, your role as
science educators is not best served by teaching your beliefs. That's
indoctrination. The better approach is to lay out the known facts and let the
public decide for themselves.

>In fact, if there's anything that the discoveries of other planetary systems
have taught us, it is >that we don't really know what a general planetary
system is like, and we don't have a >universal definition of a planet.

Right, which is what makes planetary science so exciting. There is a lot left
to be learned. Given this current state of affairs, wouldn't the better stance
on Pluto be to present it as one of those unknowns? Present what is known about
Pluto. Present both sides of the debate about wheter or not Pluto should
continue to be classified as a planet. Then, let the audience decide.

>Personally, I look forward to the new discoveries and to being surprised by
>the diversity of planetary systems we will find. Fresh views are good for
>science.

Agreed. I would add that an open mind is also good for science. If Hayden has
indeed taken the position that Pluto is not a planet, and if the staff are
teaching this, then that venerable institution is doing a disservice to the
public.

Bill Ferris
"Cosmic Voyage: The Online Resource for Amateur Astronomers"
URL: http://members.aol.com/billferris/index.html

P. Edward Murray

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Jan 28, 2001, 10:08:57 PM1/28/01
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Frank,

Are you telling us that your teaching that Pluto is not a planet?


P. Edward Murray
President
Bucks-Mont. Astronomical Assoc., Inc.

P.S.

dennis jennings

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Jan 29, 2001, 8:57:17 AM1/29/01
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SMVEMABJSUNKBOC may be more accurate but it does not adapt to the
melody of "Way down upon the Swanee River" as well as My very educated
mother does


Frank Summers

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Jan 29, 2001, 10:25:05 AM1/29/01
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"P. Edward Murray" wrote:

> Frank,
>
> Are you telling us that your teaching that Pluto is not a planet?

We are teaching about the structure of the solar system. We divide
it into six fmailies of objects: star, rocky planets, asteroid belt,
gas giant planets, Kuiper belt, and Oort cloud. Pluto is part of the
Kuiper Belt.

By inference, one may logically conclude that Pluto is not a planet.
Of course, if you feel it is acceptable to have a planet orbiting with the
Kuiper Belt (as Pluto does), you may also consider it a planet.

We never explicitly decry Pluto's status, although it is the firm
opinion of the curators that public understanding of the solar
system is furthered best by considering Pluto as the largest
(so far) of the Kuiper belt objects. Its status is equivalent to
Ceres in the asteroid belt.

We are not onfrontational about the whole thing. The press,
however, likes to stir up controversy.

Frank Summers


Frank Summers

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Jan 29, 2001, 1:44:00 PM1/29/01
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Bill Ferris wrote:

> The size of the object is not known. The estimate you list is based on an
> assumption about the object's albedo which yields a reasonable estimate. The
> object could be larger or smaller.

> If you answer the questions I posed above, you'll find that Pluto stands apart

> from the KBOs in several areas.

Actually, the estimate I listed was in error. The value should have been about
40% of Pluto's diameter, but I had 70% stuck in my head for a different reason.

The point is not how different Pluto is from other KBOs. The point is how
similar it is to the other KBOs when compared to the gas giant planets, or
the rocky planets. Which class of objects does it fit best in?

If I read you correct, you advocate that Pluto is its own class of object. What
educational message is gained by that?

> Young children don't have the foundational knowledge to gain that kind of
> understanding. Memerizing the names of the planets and their order from the Sun
> is a good first step in learning about the solar system in that it provides a
> framework within which undertanding can take form.

So you feel they can memorize 10 things more easily than they can memorize
6 things? Memorization is a standard tool, and it works no less in our view than
in yours.

> By adopting that position, you've moved from teaching to being advocates for a
> position in a debate that is ongoing within the scientific community. Your view
> may be that Pluto should not be classified as a planet. However, your role as
> science educators is not best served by teaching your beliefs. That's
> indoctrination. The better approach is to lay out the known facts and let the
> public decide for themselves.

Let's not be naive. One cannot teach without adopting a position. We have
found that this position provides the best basis for teaching. You advocate
the traditional position, I presume, in your presentations. I hope it works
well for you. Ours works well for us.

The question of Pluto is a question of nomenclature. The discussion of
the structure of the solar system and comparative planetology is much more
important. We were not going to devote significant space to the classification
of one object. There are computer displays in the hall that can deal more
effectively with this discussion.

> Agreed. I would add that an open mind is also good for science. If Hayden has
> indeed taken the position that Pluto is not a planet, and if the staff are
> teaching this, then that venerable institution is doing a disservice to the
> public.

On the contrary, our service to the public is to explain the solar system and
the rest of astronomy via the best means possible. We have organized the
information in a way that naturally illuminates the structure of the solar
system. A shift in what one calls Pluto is not the concern. A rose by any
other name ...

Please note, we have not sent out any press releases and we do not demand
that everyone re-classify Pluto. We basically sidestep the issue because it
doesn't add to one's understanding. Further, we are not telling you what you
may teach. If you like our view, use it. If you don't, don't.

By the way, a closed mind is one that will not accept new ideas and reverts
to tradition for tradition's sake. Are really implying that such applies to us?

Frank Summers
Hayden Planetarium


Marty

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Jan 29, 2001, 1:41:11 PM1/29/01
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One of the most useful things I learned in college was that the
most effective mnemonics are obscene, and about people you know
personally.
Marty

Marty

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Jan 29, 2001, 3:35:51 PM1/29/01
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I have to take issue with Mr. Summers point that it is easier to
memorize 6 things than 10. I can understand the point in teaching the
general classes of objects in the solar system and how this knowledge
may well translate into a better understanding of the solar system and
the planetary systems of other stars as well. However, the sun and it's
9 planets make a very striking visual. We've all at least heard the
names of the planets, and most people have at least a rough idea of
which is closest and farthest from the sun. When looking at even a
simple picture of the solar system, the general classes of objects
become quite apparent. (And here comes good 'ol Pluto, representing the
Kuiper Objects...)
It would seem to me that it would be more realistic to expect
people to learn and remember the general classes of objects by being
able to visualize the solar system, than to learn about planetary
systems in general by learning about the 6 classes of objects. Taking
into consideration the abysymal scientific ignorance of the general
public, these 6 classes would be rather dry and unmemorable.
This all reminds me a little bit of the "new math" disaster in the
60's where we experimented with teaching students math by first getting
into the theory behind how math works.
Marty

P. Edward Murray

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Jan 29, 2001, 9:06:44 PM1/29/01
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Frank,

I seem to recall that this issue surfaced at the International
Astronomical Union meeting
a few years ago and they voted that Pluto is still considered a major
planet and not a minor
one.

I think that pretty much says it all no matter what some planetarians
think!

It's real interesting how some folks (revisionists I believe) just love
to pronounce judgement
before the jury has even heard the case. In this instance we haven't
even sent a spacecraft
out to Pluto yet!!!!

Bill Ferris

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Jan 30, 2001, 1:38:38 AM1/30/01
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Frank Summers wrote:
>The point is not how different Pluto is from other KBOs. The point is how
>similar it is to the other KBOs when compared to the gas giant planets, or
>the rocky planets. Which class of objects does it fit best in?

My point is that Pluto meets most, if not all, the criteria used by
professional astronomers to determine if an object should be classified a major
planet. What is Hayden's definition of a major planet? Surely, you have one.

You've described the Hayden Solar System model as "six fmailies of objects:


star, rocky planets, asteroid belt, gas giant planets, Kuiper belt, and Oort
cloud. Pluto is part of the

Kuiper Belt." Star, is a broad classification including all objects in the
universe that sustain nuclear fusion at their cores. The Sun is a yellow dwarf
star, a subcategory of the group of objects known as stars. The Sun is smaller
in size by comparison to the largest red supergiant than Pluto is to Jupiter.
The Sun is less massive by comparison than Pluto is to Mars. Yet, you consider
the Sun a star but not Pluto a planet.

You say Pluto has more in common with the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects than
with the eight major planets in the Solar System and, therefore, Pluto should
be not be considered a planet but a KBO. Earth has more in common with Ceres or
the Moon than it does with Jupiter. Should Earth not be considered planet? Of
course not. Earth falls into a subcategory of major planets known as
terrestrial worlds or, in Hayden's parlance, rocky worlds. Pluto and Charon
might not fit the schemes you've developed for rocky or gas giant planets.
However, that doesn't mean they're not planets. If they meet the criteria,
perhaps a new category of planet is needed. You could call them the icy planets
or ice dwarf planets.

By throwing Pluto and Charon in with the minor planets KBOs, you've taken the
easy way out. That's not good science.

>So you feel they can memorize 10 things more easily than they can memorize
>6 things? Memorization is a standard tool, and it works no less in our view
>than in yours.

Do the words, "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas," mean
anything to you?

>Let's not be naive. One cannot teach without adopting a position. We have
>found that this position provides the best basis for teaching. You advocate
>the traditional position, I presume, in your presentations. I hope it works
>well for you. Ours works well for us.

As any good teacher knows, teaching does not require having a firm answer to
every question. It's OK to say, "I don't know," or "You tell me." In fact, it's
important for a teacher to acknowledge that some questions don't have pat
answers. The best teachers I've had were those who engaged their students in a
dialog about controversial issues, didn't teach that one position was correct
and another wrong, but used the topic as a catalyst to get the students to
think critically about the issue.

Pluto offers that kind of opportunity. It's too bad Hayden has chosen to jump
the gun and settle on an answer before the debate has ended.

>The question of Pluto is a question of nomenclature. The discussion of
>the structure of the solar system and comparative planetology is much more
>important.

Nomenclature and classification are central to the work of science. It would be
naive to think that changing Pluto's classification would not have significant
impact on the public's perception of its nature. In fact, you've changed
Pluto's nomenclature with the full knowledge that it will change public
perception. Why do you suggest otherwise?

>We were not going to devote significant space to the classification
>of one object. There are computer displays in the hall that can deal more
>effectively with this discussion.

Again, it is unfortunate that you've chosen to pass on a great opportunity to
engage your visitors in a discussion of what makes a planet a planet. Frankly,
I'm dumbfounded that you consider such an opportunity insignificant.

>On the contrary, our service to the public is to explain the solar system and
>the rest of astronomy via the best means possible. We have organized the
>information in a way that naturally illuminates the structure of the solar
>system. A shift in what one calls Pluto is not the concern. A rose by any
>other name ...

I fail to see how your mission is served by ignoring one of the most vigorous
public and professional debates in the science of astronomy, how your mission
is served by going contrary to the official position of the astronomical
community without explanation, or how your mission is served by making
assumption about the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt for which there is very little
evidence.

>Please note, we have not sent out any press releases and we do not demand

>that everyone re-classify Pluto.We basically sidestep the issue because it


>doesn't add to one's understanding. Further, we are not telling you what you
>may teach. If you like our view, use it. If you don't, don't.

Why haven't you sent out any press releases? You seem quite proud of the
exhibit. I would think you would want the public to know about it. Enough time,
effort and money has gone into the rebuilding of Hayden that you should be
shouting about the changes from the tallest tree you can find.

As for sidestepping the issue, how can you say you've sidestepped it when you
don't include Pluto as a major planet? You're right in the middle of the issue,
but laying low and hoping no one will notice.

>By the way, a closed mind is one that will not accept new ideas and reverts
>to tradition for tradition's sake. Are really implying that such applies to
>us?

Yes. It's obvious Hayden has decided further studying and exploration of the
Edgeworth-Kuiper belt is unnecessary. That, to me, is a closed mind.

gchb...@my-deja.com

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Jan 30, 2001, 8:42:52 PM1/30/01
to
In this debate about the status of Pluto, I'm curious about the percieved
notion that you can't have an icy world beyond the gas giants.

Let's look at the discovery of worlds around other stars. One of the early
arguments about Pluto not being classed as a planet was its orbital
eccentricity. Yet, there are several extrasolar worlds that have
eccentricities much greater than the planets Mercury through to Neptune.
Recently, two planets around a star were found to be in resonance. Neptune
and Pluto share this characteristic too.

As we develop orbiting observatories that are able to image worlds around
other stars, what happens when we find a ~5000km body orbiting way beyond the
gas giants of another planetary system.

My vote: until a clear consensus can be reached on the definition of a
planet, Pluto's status should not be changed.

Regards,
Greg Bryant
gchb...@hotmail.com
http://gchbryant.tripod.com


Sent via Deja.com
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Scot Mc Pherson

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Feb 8, 2001, 1:31:41 PM2/8/01
to
My personal take on this topic would be to include Pluto as the most
significant KBO known and also talk about how it was previously classified
as a planet and that there is still some discussion regarding it
classification and re-classification. I think that would be more valuable
than to stick it in a single category and hope people don't ask. Inform by
giving all the information.

--
Scot Mc Pherson
http://www.behomet.net
N27° 19' 56"
W82° 30' 39"

Frank Summers <vze2...@mail.verizon.net> wrote in message
news:3A721E2B...@mail.verizon.net...

Bill Ferris

unread,
Feb 9, 2001, 12:15:05 AM2/9/01
to
>My personal take on this topic would be to include Pluto as the most
>significant KBO known and also talk about how it was previously classified
>as a planet

Of course, if Hayden tells people Pluto was previously classified as a
planet--implying that it's not currently classified as a planet--they'd be
misinforming the public.

>Inform by giving all the information.

Excellent suggestion as long as the information is accuarate.

Daniel P. B. Smith

unread,
Feb 12, 2001, 7:32:51 PM2/12/01
to
In article <3A758B50...@nospam.org>, Frank Summers
<nos...@nospam.org> wrote:

> "P. Edward Murray" wrote:
>
> > Frank,
> >
> > Are you telling us that your teaching that Pluto is not a planet?
>
> We are teaching about the structure of the solar system. We divide
> it into six fmailies of objects: star, rocky planets, asteroid belt,
> gas giant planets, Kuiper belt, and Oort cloud. Pluto is part of the
> Kuiper Belt.
>
> By inference, one may logically conclude that Pluto is not a planet.
> Of course, if you feel it is acceptable to have a planet orbiting with the
> Kuiper Belt (as Pluto does), you may also consider it a planet.

PLUTO NOT A PLANET? Good grief. Scandalous! What's the world coming
to? Oh tempora, oh mores.

Why, that would be like saying there's no such species as a Baltimore
Oriole. Or that there are more than ninety-two elements. Or that
Piltdown Man wasn't the Missing Link.

Outrageous. I shall be writing to my Congressman about this. Mark my
words, you haven't heard the last of this. The Pluto Lobby stands
vigilant...

--
Daniel P. B. Smith
Preferred email address: dpbs...@world.std.com
Alternate email address: dpbs...@bellatlantic.net
"Lifetime forwarding" address: dpbs...@alum.mit.edu
Visit alt.books.jack-london!

P. Edward Murray

unread,
Feb 12, 2001, 7:57:58 PM2/12/01
to
I wonder if we can label "The Hayden Planetarium Take on Pluto" as
BAD SCIENCE?

BTW, I just spoke with Derrick Pitts "Chief Astronomer" at the Fels
Planetarium of The
Franklin Institute in Philadelphia some days ago. He said "I like Pluto"

Now I'm fairly sure that The Franklin Institute still thinks that Pluto
is a planet!

Ed Murray

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