Some thoughts I had today on this whole planet stuff:
There are some…
who insist that a planet is 3000 miles in diameter or more.
Let’s take a look at the approximate diameters of all 12 objects being considered under the 12-planet proposal:
Ceres: 580 miles
Charon: 730 miles
Pluto: 1,470 miles
“Xena”: 1490 miles
Mercury: 3030 miles
Mars: 4190 miles
Venus: 7,500 miles
Earth: 7,900 miles
Neptune: 30,760 miles
Uranus: 31,760 miles
Saturn: 74,900 miles
Jupiter: 89,000 miles
Guess what the discovered planets were when the 3000 mile definition was created?
I actually don’t know what year this was, but without even looking it up, I am going to guess this was back in the days of the 8 planets, and we knew about all the planets above from Mercury on up in size. And we decided on 3000 because Mercury was just over 3000 miles in diameter. Scientific? No. But I suspect extremely likely. The size of Mercury and the line drawn in the definition could be a coincidence. Coincidences do happen. But in this case, I’d bet on it not being a coincidence.
So now that we know about objects smaller…3000 is written in stone? Why?
“Planet” is just a word. It can mean anything. It can mean the scab on my foot, if I had a scab on my foot. Which I don’t, and it doesn’t. But it could.
If we’re going to base this on size, I think the below proposal would do wonders for our worldly self-esteem:
Diameters up to 7,800 miles are: Dwarf Planets
Diameters from 7,801 miles to 8,000 miles: Planets
Diameters from 8,001 miles and up: Monster planets.
Hey! We’re the only planet! Everything else is either a dwarf or a monster!
What’s less scientific about this?
Or in other words….Size shouldn’t matter.
Isaac Asimov: “The Solar System consists of Jupiter plus debris.”