rwald wrote:Mane wrote:What I don't understand about the whole pluto as a planet or not thing is, we talk about Jupiter and Neptune as planets, but we also call them Gas giants, why is it that dwarf planets have to be separate from the normal planets?
Or to better make my point, we already classed planets into Gas Giants and Rocky ones, why can't we create another classification for planets like pluto, without removing the label of 'planet' from them? I don't think many people would seriously argue that Saturn isn't a planet...
We already have a term for "random bodies floating in the Solar System"...OK, maybe we don't, but when people think of "planet" they're not thinking of, for example, random asteroids. They're thinking of "big things." If dwarf planets were considered to also be "real" planets, the category of "planet" would include some decidedly "small" things...as well as having tens, if not hundreds of members. If the word "planet" is to have any utility in the sense of "the most gravitationally significant bodies in the solar system," it can't include dwarf planets.
See, but the problem is that we're using our solar system as a sort of paragon for all other solar systems, even though we know, for example, that Brown Dwarfs exist.
Which was more or less my point, why do we talk about Jupiter as a planet, and not as if it was a failed star? We don't even know if it really does have, for example, a core of any sort, it could be nothing more then a giant ball of gas. Lets say that in a few hundred years we discover that Jupiter and the other gas giants are really just dead stars that never got their reactions going, will we remove them as well?