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« Give me that old-time religion | Main | Objective-reality based thinking is so old-fashioned »


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O'Neill would be proud of you, son...

Ken Muldrew

When the JPL did their Horizon solar system integration, they included 6000 bodies. I say if anything is big enough to affect the orbits of the big boys, then that thing is big enough to call a planet. So subtract the moons and the sun and everything else is a planet. Somewhere in the 5800-5900 range, I would guess. Lance, you like to write (see above), maybe you could write an acronym-essay from the names of all these bodies?

Backword Dave

There would actually have been 12: BBC; but you were right the first time: Pluto was demoted.

Ken above isn't quite right. Moons and planets aren't that clearly separated. Our moon is larger than Mercury (and Pluto), so planet-ness isn't determined by size or gravitational attraction: our moon affects the earth more than any classical planet does. If being "big enough to affect the orbits of the big boys" then only Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune would qualify. Letterman: "Run for your life, everybody."

Susie from Philly

This might help:

Susie from Philly

This might help:


I feel so used.

Ken Muldrew

Dave, my definition of a planet was having a primary orbit around the sun, rather than around something else. Are there bodies in the solar system that oscillate between planetary and solar orbits?


Ken, I got your point, but I have to say that Dave reacted to the "affecting the big boys" comment, which did confuse me at first as well.


Somebody get Neil deGrasse Tyson on the phone!

Ken Muldrew

"The big boys" was my way of avoiding a stand on 11 vs. 10 vs. 9 vs. 8 "real" planets. Throw 'em all in and let gravity sort it out!


Now who's acting like a rhetorical device.


Lance, I say with all honesty, that this was the funniest thing I've seen all day. (And that's a day that included plastic totem poles, toy baobab trees, and a video of a literal food fight.)

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