Comments on Mike Brown's Planets: This post might not be wrong
Hi, Mike ;D
If your hypothesis is right, can we d...Hi, Mike ;D<br /><br />If your hypothesis is right, can we deduce something about the history of these objects? Like, if it's blue and resides way out there at 95 A.U. then at one time it should have been closer, like inside the methanol line. And if it's red, it's never been inside the methanol line. Would that be so?<br /><br />Rogue objects might be spotted that way. The better we get classifications the better we will be able to make sense out of them.
But the big, round KBOs are not frozen snowballs. ...But the big, round KBOs are not frozen snowballs. Eris is more dense than Pluto, which means it probably is mostly rock. Eventually, we should send probes to these large KBOs and compare them with their tiny neighbors. Only then will we really have a handle on the differences between the two types of objects.
So nine (oops, now only eight) planets are interes...So nine (oops, now only eight) planets are interesting but thousands of KBO ice balls are not? I'm sure that Mike considers each new body he discovers, or looks at with new spectroscopic eyes, each as as special members of his extended family, just like his own kids and those of his other family relations and so on. What attracts our general science interest are the systematics, e.g., when one group like the cold classicals are all red, or when there is bimodality of color, all either bluish or reddish but not mushed in between. In such systematic color distributions could be writ large the history of solar system formation, e.g. the compositional variations with distance from the Sun that Mike has now published on, and perhaps also the history of evolution by processes such as cosmic ray irradiation (dear to my own heart) since the time of formation.
Yes, we need to discover more worlds, but only to ...Yes, we need to discover more worlds, but only to advance science and the public understanding of the universe. Nobody needs to fulfill their ego by finding yet another KBO with features pretty much like ones with similar features already found, i.e. some may be smaller, some bigger, some may be blue, some red, however, like icebergs in the Arctic ocean, once you have seen one, you have seen them all.<br /><br />I am NOT saying that all KBO's are basically the same. I am saying that once you have solved the mysteries about the big issues such as do they qualify as (dwarf) planets, do they have an atmosphere, any cryovulcanism, any moons etc., then move on. Smaller issues such as (slight) color variations and shape variations should not consume our attention. <br /><br />Is in our best interest to use our limited resources to find and name every snowball out there if we have solved most of the big questions we had about such objects? If we discover significant differences in KBO's, then keep on looking for more KBO's with more differences; but if we find more of the same, then it may be time to move on to other areas of the universe. <br /><br />Now is not the best time to stop looking in the Kuiper belt, because we are finding differences in the worlds, but after a while, we will begin to find more similarities than differences in these worlds; then would be a good time to move on. <br /><br />Sometimes scientists (astronomers) find something initially interesting, but eventually falls into what I call "ubiquity apathy, " i.e. something may capture the publics' interest, like the discovery of Eris, but there will come a time when people just think that there are so many frozen worlds beyond Neptune that it takes something special to recapture our attention. Will lay people argue over what to name the one hundredth (or one thousandth) KBO or will names like JASB 3013, suffice?<br /><br />Whatever the case, I would be much more interested in the discovery of a planet between the Sun and Mercury, in the detached region, Oort cloud or outside of our Solar system, than just another of perhaps thousands, maybe millions of snowballs of various sizes, shapes and colors found in the Kuiper belt.
The fact that there are limitless frozen snowballs...The fact that there are limitless frozen snowballs residing in one region of our solar system is fascinating in its own right - <br /><br />Growing up in the 80's, we were supplied a steady diet of 9 planets, an asteroid belt, about 50 satellites, and a few comets swinging through every now and again deserving of note. This was the solar system. <br /><br />I'm not sure I care so much either, why KBO's are red or blue - as a liberal arts guy who took 'Physics for Poets and Trees' in college, I'll let people smarter than me argue the finer details here -<br /><br />But watching the list of identified KBO's grow steadily over the last 20 years...with the number of potential dwarf planets approaching 1000...with interesting variations in eccentricity and deviations from the ecliptic... the mystery that is Sedna... <br /><br />These additions to the Solar System family, coupled with the very entertaining accompanying debate on planet semantics, have fundamentally shifted my reality and rekindled a long-dormant interest in astronomy.<br /><br />Perhaps it's a vast, distant, region of space, sparsely populated with countless similar icy spheres/not-spheres - <br /><br />But that's exactly what makes it so interesting. Every new discovery contributes a small little piece to an increasingly fascinating whole. <br /><br />Props to Mike Brown and pioneers in his field before him, who have dedicated their careers to help put this all in context.
What color do you believe a world would be if it l...What color do you believe a world would be if it lies half in the red goo zone and half in the blue goo zone; do you get a purple goo world? <br /><br />Why do we need to look for commonalities in worlds anyway? If all worlds in the Kuiper belt were pretty much the same, then we could gather as much information about one "typical" KB world, such as Pluto and move on to other regions where there are great dissimilarities in the composition of the worlds. <br /><br />As an educator, I have little interest in teaching about thousands, if not tens or even hundreds of thousands of KBOs, if they are just variations of the same thing.<br /><br />However, for example if I were to educate students about our inner Solar system, I could take any object such as Mercury, one of the least interesting Solar system planets, and compare it with Venus, a quite interesting planet and draw the conclusion that bodies within the inner Solar system can be quite dissimilar, despite their close proximity to each other.<br /><br />In other words, a better question may be, "what make each KBO dissimilar to other KBOs?" If you just look for similarities, then you miss the things that make each world unique. <br /><br />I do not care so much about size or location for example, a world such as Titan is of much more interest to me than a world such as Mercury, Mars or Pluto, simply because their is a lot of activity and interesting features found on Titan, that you would not find on any of those other worlds.<br /><br />Let's not get caught up on finding all of the KBO worlds, if they are just different sizes or colors of basically the same rocky snowballs. <br /><br />Sure I would like to find as much as possible about distinguishing features and qualities of worlds throughout the universe, but do not want to get tangled in a web that is to find all of the limitless frozen snowballs residing in one region of our Solar system; there is a lot more to discover!
I wonder to what degree New Horizons may be able t...I wonder to what degree New Horizons may be able to help in proving or disproving this.
Oh, talking of typos, I think the caption has insi...Oh, talking of typos, I think the caption has inside and outside mixed up, too.
(and I am fixing that typo right this second....)(and I am fixing that typo right this second....)
You are absolutely right; this hypothesis ...John --<br />You are absolutely right; this hypothesis is simplistic at best, since much has happened since the formation. And the cold classicals are definitely odd in many many ways....<br /><br />My hope is that this is perhaps the first order effect that general sets red vs. blue and that everything else is a smaller variation. But clearly you can see exceptions such as Haumea family members and large cryo-covered things where history has had a big roll, too!<br />Mike
Not at all wrong but probably not the whole...Mike,<br /><br />Not at all wrong but probably not the whole story. There is also dynamics and structure of the bodies, history of collisions, etc. If you have not already, see my own take on the "Kuiper Belt of Many Colors" at http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/sunearthsystem/main/kuiper-colors.html. Loss of ammonia (NH3) at 34 AU could be important for the cold classicals since conversion of this to nitrogen gas could otherwise drive cryovolcanism and recoat the surfaces with bluish material from the deeper pristine ice. Like birds of a feather, crazy ideas can sometimes fly together.
You are a wonderful teacher!You are a wonderful teacher!
everything outside can keep surface methanol, ever...everything outside can keep surface methanol, everything *outside* must lose it.<br /><br />...inside...
tissit ja perse.tissit ja perse.
Good luck Mike. Fits the parameters of the observa...Good luck Mike. Fits the parameters of the observations well. Hope it lights a fire under everyone's chosen orthodoxy!