Thanks to the new definition, Pluto can return to the category of planets


2017-02-21 16:00:11




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Thanks to the new definition, Pluto can return to the category of planets

A Group of scientists from NASA have published an article with a call and an offer to use the new definition, according to which to classify space objects and bring them into the category of planets. And if this proposal passes, then eventually in the Solar system "may appear" over a hundred new planets in the ranks which, among other things, back it will record not only Pluto, but also will enter our natural satellite – the moon.

The Main proposal of the Manifesto is the question of how to determine – is it possible to include something or other cosmic body in the category of planets. Scientists believe, the choice should come from what level of relationship is present between the object and the star (that is, turns on whether the celestial body around the Sun or not), and from what the physical properties of these space bodies have.

"Staying within the scientific framework and yet trying to maintain "public opinion and intuition", we propose to use a geophysical model of the definition of "planet", which will primarily take into account the internal physical properties of the object, not its outer orbital properties" — scientists explain.

By the way, the leadership team of scientists, who proposed to reconsider the classification of planets, is Alan stern. For those who don't know, he is the leader of the program "New horizons", in which in 2015 the space probe made the first orbital flight around the long-suffering in determination of the cosmic body — Pluto. Recall that in August 2006 by astronomer Mike brown of the California Institute of technology proposed to rewrite the definition according to which to classify space objects as planets. On this wave under the distribution of hit Pluto, in the opinion of many, unjustly reduced to the rank of dwarf planet.

As a result, the international astronomical Union decided to change the definitions for the objects eligible to fall under the classification of planets in our Solar system:

"It is a celestial body that: 1. turns around the Sun; 2. has sufficient mass to become rounded by its own gravity; 3. managed to clear the neighborhood of its orbit from planetesimals (i.e. the remnants of matter that formed the planet)".

Since Pluto hasn't got rid of nearby debris in its orbit, according to the description, it cannot fall under the definition of a planet. Alan stern, in turn, clearly feeding to Pluto special sympathy, which probably ultimately led to our ability to see details all the amazing features of his famous "heart", recently called the decision to reduce the Statute of Pluto "bullshit".

"Why bother to ask the astronomer about the planets?" — said the famous planetary scientists stern, in an interview with publishing Business Insider in 2015.

In his opinion, to apply such a question to the astronomer, studying a variety of cosmic objects and phenomena, and not directly to the planetary, sosredotochimsya their attention exclusively on the planets, their moons, and planetary systems, according to stern, comparable treatment to the dentist when you need brain surgery.

"Even if they are both — the doctors, they both have completely different practice," — commented stern.

"In this case you need to refer to the planetary, which can really something to tell about a particular parse object. If you look at an object such as Pluto, something different, like a planet, it is not called".

Stern and his colleagues propose a different explanation defining the term «the planet», and sent their opinion for consideration to the Commission of the International astronomical Union.

"We brought a new definition for planets on the basis of the geophysical properties of the objects to use in the future, theorists, scientists, students and ordinary people" — according to the stern command.

"To the planets can be attributed ozvezdie massive objects that have never happened fusion reaction and which have sufficient mass to become under its own gravity rounded according to the triaxial ellipsoid model and regardless of the parameters of their orbits".

If this definition sounds too complicated for you, here is more simple:

"the Planets are round objects in space, smaller than the stars."

This option may sound highly simplistic, but actually this is misleading. In the known Universe is actually not so many different objects that can fall within its ambit. For example, it immediately excludes such objects as stars, and their classes like various dwarf stars, not to mention neutron stars and black holes.

"Our geophysical model definition that places emphasis on the internal properties of the object primarily takes into account its own physical properties, rather than the physics of its interaction with the surrounding objects" — scientists explain.

In Other words, it may mean that our Moon and other moons of the Solar system like Titan, Enceladus, Europa and Ganymede can be seen as a planet, not to mention Pluto, which scientists have been more and more consider it as a planetary object.

Interestingly, the researchers did not just think that their definition more accurately describes the term "planet" from the point of view of properties, due to which we should classify these objects, they argue that the previous definition initially has a number of features that distort the meaning of the term and confusing:


    "first, under the current definition of planets can only be the objects that revolve around the Sun, and not those which may apply around other stars or don't have stellar orbits and are free to travel around the galaxy. We are talking about the so-called wandering planets."

    "secondly, the requirement for so-called net orbit such objects are in fact generally implies that "in our Solar system, no planets", since on orbit each of them, including earth, regularly fly by small space objects".

    "And thirdly, and more importantly, the requirement for a so-called "clean orbital zone" can mean that the calculations used to confirm the status of a space object as a planet, should depend directly on the distance of this zone. That is, first we need to define the area of this zone. Each such free zone to talk about the need for larger facilities, this area clean. And is extremely rare. For example, even an object the size of the Earth would be unable to clear its orbital zone, being in the same Kuiper belt".

Of Course, about any change in the definition for planets is out of the question until the international astronomical Union does not take appropriate decision. Even if this organization decides to consider the question of the revision of the definition, even before the official conclusion, probably followed by many discussions and disputes. However, a team of researchers from NASA is sure that the public is on her side, and if for this reason beginning to have such conversations, it is not time really to consider reviewing? Even if all it eventually may be hiding behind a simple desire stern, weary to answer the same question:

"Why have you been sent to Pluto "New horizons", even if it is not a planet?"


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