Mike Brown's Planets
I dugg some of you post as I cogitated they were e...I dugg some of you post as I cogitated they were extremely helpful invaluable.
Mark Pole: having your work stolen from you and th...Mark Pole: having your work stolen from you and then pointing the finger at the thief is not about ego, it's about justice. And it's not just about Professor Brown, it's about scientific ethics in general. It doesn't matter how the Spanish team stole the discovery of Haumea, it just matters that they did.<br /><br />--Alex B.
Laurel: I'm glad you came around about the nam...Laurel: I'm glad you came around about the naming rights issue. And I agree the IAU should have determined its decision on the proponderance of the evidence and officially awarded the discovery to Mike Brown. The compromise should have been simply not sanctioning the Spanish team, which they should. <br /><br />It's been 10 more years, any updates at all on this controversy? <br /><br />--Alex B.
Laurel: "that we find out who discovered EL6...Laurel: "that we find out who discovered EL61 first... is nothing more than a battle of egos."<br /><br />Easy for you to say. Imagine spending hours and hours studying the sky and then finding an object. And then spending months calculating the object's orbit an properties to confirm what you found, only to have it scooped by someone spying on your observations. <br /><br />Imagine Clyde Tombaugh spending much of his life studying photographic plates to eventually find Pluto. So if a janitor at Lowell looked over his shoulder and ran to the papers saying that he found the 9th planet, any protest by Tombaugh would be his "ego" talking? <br /><br />Alex B.
Hey Mike, i'm reading your book to my ten year...Hey Mike, i'm reading your book to my ten year old son, last night i read the part about you almost quitting, and antonin talking you out of it- and about not being normal and being an astronomer- fynn said that you can't quit because you've made so many important discoveries, and that if you did we'd have to go out there and talk some sense into you, to make sure you keep on searching the skies... you've touched a ten year olds heart, thank you.
To change the subject for a moment professor. I am...To change the subject for a moment professor. I am an 81 year old retired gentleman who has just finished your book about the down-grading of Pluto. In it you talked about how moons are named and I believe you said all known moons were named. But one isn't and I'd like to know why. That moon is the one that circles the planet Earth. The Earth has a name as do the other 7 planets. But our poor Moon does not and it is one of the biggest moons in the solar system . . perhaps the biggest. but we just call it Moon. That would be like naming your dog "dog" or your aardvark "aardvark." How would you like to just be called "MAN?" How about coming up with an acceptable name for moon. If for no other reason than to make an old man happy before he dies. P. S. I really liked your book. email@example.com
Hahaha... I came from seeing the Sciencemag articl...Hahaha... I came from seeing the Sciencemag article from 2yrs ago.<br /><br />I suppose the previous commentor... eventually got some of the information he wanted, albeit after a long 8yr wait, haha!<br /><br />But... you can see where this is going!<br /><br />Your discovery/ confirmation was 2yrs ago!<br /><br />- So? <br /><br />Where our we regarding Planet X, now? Eh?<br /><br />If you saw it 2yrs ago... we have to know more by now, right? <br /><br />;)
As I mentioned to someone else in a reply to their...As I mentioned to someone else in a reply to their post... 1:1 resonant co-orbital objects effectively count as "cleared" anyway, as they're a type of quasi satellite, and most of them cluster around the Lagrange points - which indicate that they're being influenced by a combination of gravitational forces from the sun, and the main planet in that orbit. Even those which are retrograde QSes and thus nominally detached from the primary planet, or are in either horseshoe or travelling "bean" / "tadpole" orbits (whose relative position to the primary oscillates on a two-factor basis - the minor planet around the centre of the apparent relative orbit itself, and the orbit around the sun in relation to the major planet) appear to be mostly influenced by the primary as the retros stay fairly close to (or at least seemingly centred on) the planet - even if not directly affected by its gravity, it's a sign that it's just outside of that zone of effect, technically therefore not actually in the primary's orbit, and if it came any closer it would be cleared by other methods (capture, collision, deflection) - and the horseshoe/sliding sub orbit crew move in a kind of "anti orbit", doing everything *except* spinning around the primary and indeed avoiding that by seeming to "bounce off" at each end of the track (actually an illusion, like much of the rest of their orbits, caused by the primary pulling on them and changing their path subtly so that a minor that was falling behind then ends up accelerating away, and vice versa, just enough to avoid either circling or colliding with the primary, without being deflected any further than is necessary to do so.<br /><br />The clearance refers to there being little or no significant bodies scudding around in a less controlled fashion throughout the orbit... consider Saturn's rings and their shepherd moons. It works in much the same way there, just on a much smaller and localised scale.<br /><br />One of the difficulties people probably have with the concept is that it partly relies on how *many* dwarfs or minors can be found in a particular orbit. If there weren't any other plutoids or similar resonant KBOs near Pluto, just by sheer chance, then it would have a much better chance of being considered a full planet as there wouldn't be anything else nearby (other than maybe Neptune) to perturb its orbit, as any rivals would never get close enough. However, this isn't the case, as there are at least 2 or 3 other similar objects that often come close to and interact with it...
Funny, I've ended up here, though an extremely...Funny, I've ended up here, though an extremely roundabout ramble through wikipedia and the like, because I've been trying to come up with a similar illustration to show the main dwarfs in comparison with the major planets proper (forgoing the sun, really), as well as the largest moons of each. Just getting the pertinent figures together has been a bit of a trial, as data on anything smaller than Mimas or further out than Pluto (...including all the other plutoids and officialised/"accepted but not official" DPs) seems very vague, fragmentary, and prone to serious "Chinese whispers" effect (EG some idiot writes down the diameter as just "size" or "dimension", someone else blindly takes that as meaning radius without checking the source, then later on similar happens after someone has "correctly" doubled up the radius to produce a diameter figure... or they completely fail at understanding Standard Form when writing the mass... etc), meaning I've ended up becoming responsible for actually tidying up some of the publicly accessible / editable data itself for certain bodies, when all I actually wanted to do was go to Wikipedia or the like and copy down a few numbers.<br /><br />On top of that, there's the obvious problem that even including the top two or three dozen objects provides a size... ahem, sorry, RADIUS range of at least 100x and more likely 1000x once you include a reasonable amount of things beyond the primary 8 planets (plus the moons that are either bigger than Mercury, or range from there down to Luna). Heck, Jupiter to Luna is already something like 40x, thus making Jupiter pretty chunky even with the moon a mere 16 pixels across (equivalent to a "small" Windows icon or website favicon/tabicon image), on which scale Pluto would be more like 10 and Charon about 5 to 6, and even Mercury only about 23. And of course the distances, which make a mockery of everything.<br /><br />My current preferred option, and it might even be what the placemat publishers went with (with the slight hiccup of scaling Saturn's *rings* to be the size its actual globe should have been), is to use separate scales for the size and the distance, and to use some kind of logarithmic or exponential scaling for the apparent size of and distance between objects, which still gives an idea of where they sit relative to each other (and the different groups and how they're separated) in both cases, in a generally familiar and scientifically acceptable way. I'm just trying to work out - or will be, once I've got enough valid info to even decide what to include and exclude! - which of several different scales to even use. Log10? Ln? Square (root) law? Cube, even? And is there any method whereby the mass and/or gravity of each could be used as a scaling feature?<br /><br />Arrrgh. It was just supposed to be a fun little project to try and help the layperson better understand the layout of the most significant objects in our now much richer view of the solar system (vs the very much more rudimentary one of 25+ years ago, that is yet still what most people seem to get taught), down to the size of the smallest of your 8 "accepted" DPs (after all, that's quite neat, isn't it? 8 regular and 8 dwarf planets, plus any moons down to that lower bound? I think it came out as a fairly neat 50 objects overall, most of them giant-planet satellites, so not too much to handle)... but it's turned into a right monster.<br /><br />Thing is, I haven't yet seen evidence that anyone else has taken a serious crack at it either. Whether in placemat (or full screen wallpaper, which is about the same size and shape on a typical laptop or tablet) form, or a less aspect and pixel-count constrained banner-type image, that could e.g. be printed out on a large-format plotter and pasted up along the long wall of a school gym... so it's maybe very difficult. And of course destined to be out of date even whilst the paper is still chugging out of the printer. Yet, I feel, very necessary...
Thing is, if Ganymede was cut loose, it might actu...Thing is, if Ganymede was cut loose, it might actually count as a Proper Planet.<br /><br />After all, it's bigger than Mercury...<br /><br />That's why you make the definitions so that they can be applied without reference to any existing body, but in a universal, objective way.<br /><br />"Is the largest thing in its orbital zone and therefore is the one that does the local perturbing, rather than being perturbed; identifiable by how, after several billion years, there's nothing left either in its path or co-orbiting that's got any chance of causing it to experience significant deviation" is a bit of a sticky wicket, but it does the job well enough.
And of course... in Chess, the king may be the mos...And of course... in Chess, the king may be the most important piece that you have to protect ... but it's the queen that actually holds your team's greatest power.
That's actually a great way of putting it - I ...That's actually a great way of putting it - I had already been explaining it to people that Pluto was now no longer the runt of the planetary litter (even if you mashed it and Charon together, it would be completely outdone by Mercury and several different moons), but the King of the Dwarves.<br /><br />But, actually, that's not quite right is it. We have Pluto, King of the Dwarves, and Eris, the Queen. Who's a little shorter, but a whole lot plumper :D (and that's something the dwarves value highly)<br /><br />With their little vassals Charon and Dysnomia running around after them. Or are they maybe the children - a son and a daughter? Plus the babes-in-arms (or maybe pets? dogs, cats, puppies, kittens??) of Styx, Nyx, Hydra and Kerberos. It's a happy little Kuiperan royal family.<br /><br />Then the rest of their court making up the numbers... distant cousin Ceres keeping watch over her hinterland princ(ess)ipality... Triton, in a doomed civil partnership with Neptune... Sedna, the wandering knight... and all the other princes, princesses, dukes, dutchesses, sheriffs, knights, ladies-in-waiting, jesters, et al. With the smaller asteroids being the everyday peons.<br /><br />And the major planets and their moons maybe counting either as the royals of much larger humanoid species, or just the straight-up gods, titans, and other ethereal spirits that they're named after. Pluto and Eris having been given them as a bit of monarchial grandeur by whoever their parents might ultimately have been.<br /><br />And Sol as the central, main, progenitor god... PRAISE THE SUN! ;)
third & final chunk. thank heavens for Notepad...third & final chunk. thank heavens for Notepad.<br /><br />(On top of which, we also need to add a term that's common to more than a few sci-fi / sci-fantasy works... "are both the planetary atmosphere, and the region between the planet and extrastellar space, clear enough that the system's main star(s), any moons, other planets and most importantly other stars beyond the system clearly visible at least some of the time?". If they don't have anything to provide the context of their world existing in a larger universe or even a star system at all, because the atmosphere is cloudy or the system has dusty nebulae obscuring the galaxy and the rest - or even if, as a fundamental barrier, civilisation develops underwater, or underground, for whatever reason, then they might well think they live inside a fairly hermetic reality and never quite get the spark of inspiration that there could be something beyond, at least not until otherwise somewhat more advanced than we are now, or some significant event shakes things up. Which, in a lot of those stories, is actually the arrival of human explorers penetrating the Yavin-like permagloom and introducing the natives to the concept that actually, no, they don't live on the *inside* of a a ball...<br /><br />See, even small, seemingly negative and boring relevations can lead to long chains of intellectual discovery and realisation. Even if said realisations are, in the end, well... not so much boring, as just disappointing and a way of the universe ramping the difficulty level up several notches in response to our having found something of a cheat code (IE the vastly improved ability over the last quarter century, between better telescopes and better processing techniques and hardware, to scan the oppressive void for any other possible voices, or at least places they might live...)<br /><br />Just gotta keep on fishing.
Ugh... stupid blogger and its tiny 4kb post limits...Ugh... stupid blogger and its tiny 4kb post limits...<br /><br />And taking it further, there's the question of whether the asteroid and kuiper belts, being maybe the remnants of one or two (or more?) massive rocky worlds that went all Roche-y for some reason and formed what are essentially fairly broad rings around Sol, have helped protect us from other extrasystemic mayhem like gamma bursts, close transiting neighbour stars or rogue planets, bombardments of great numbers of far extrasolar comets and such, simply by presenting an absorbent barrier to anything coming in reasonably close to the ecliptic (with disruptors or impactors that are significantly out of it presenting a lower collision/mass disruption risk anyway), soaking up the hazards either through gravitic or straight up physical-collision means. So after the initial calamities some billions of years ago, the inner solar system with its four, relatively small and wide spaced rocky worlds, was kept unusually safe from further high-energy interference and could act as a creche for at least three different what-if scenarios (ie Venus, Earth, Mars).<br /><br />What I'm saying is, I guess, that the Fermi paradox may well point to certain missing, or vastly mis-estimated terms in the Drake equation, and that there's quite a few more barriers that need to be overcome to produce intelligent life than were initially postulated, and a lot of them are remarkably physical rather than biological or social. Like, add in the questions "does the system have planets in a strange place", "does at least one of them have an oversized moon formed largely of its own outer shell", "does that planet also have an unusually large iron core that produces a strongly protective magnetosphere", "has the system undergone events in its accretion stage or since then but still sometime in the distant past that has led to the formation of protective dust or debris rings around the parent star, between the candidate planet and extrastellar space?"... Sort in in-between "is the star of the right type" and "does it have planets formed out of a disc of suitable material", and "has it been seeded with suitable precursor substances to kickstart the formation of primordial life" and "is the life that's evolved both clever enough and curious enough to be able, and to want to, find out what's going on outside of its own atmosphere?".<br />
That's one of the things that jumps out when y...That's one of the things that jumps out when you look at the charts of exoplanet discoveries... at least, the ones we've made *so far*. Earth is maybe not entirely unique, but it IS =WEIRD=. Rocky planets of its size are less common than larger ones (thus the solar system is odd for it being the biggest - potentially the asteroid and kuiper belts speak of some ancient catastrophe that befell a larger rocky planet, and might even have involved terra/luna, phobos/deimos, neptune/titan and indeed the plutonian and haumean systems if we consider a one-armed-bandit "jackpot" cascade with something massive barrelling its way through the system hitting several coincidentally-conjunctive bodies one after the other)... and rocky planets of its size, orbiting at approximately 1AU around a star of this size and spectrum, are down in a corner at the end of several convergent long tails, with the vast majority of detected exoplanets being way off in a "main sequence"-looking band elsewhere through the chart.<br /><br />Which is maybe how it's ended up so active in the first place - relatively small with an unusually large, close satellite for anything that isn't a definite binary or a gas/ice giant, in an unusually *distant* orbit (keeping the worst of the solar radiation and wind from stripping the atmosphere or having other life-hostile effects) that means the opposing tidal forces of star and satellite can very nearly cancel out at some times and reinforce nearly twofold at others, causing a lot of internal heating and shifting-around... after having been smashed into by a pretty large object at some point also, with theoretically that aforementioned large satellite actually being composed of the remnants of an originally much thicker crust (which would have otherwise muted those other effects) that's been stripped away to leave a relatively thin layer over a more regularly exposed mantle and a more dominant magnetic core... and possibly even a lot of the water not coming so much from icy comets but actually originally being internal, and managing to escape into the atmosphere (and from there, fall onto the remaining crust) after that collision...<br /><br />Yeah, it's possible that Earth is VERY strange, in cosmic terms. Entirely possible that we could find another somewhere, but such a combination of starting conditions for both intense geological activity and, in a roundabout way, for life, could turn out to be highly reliant on a good number of separate low-probability events which all have to happen, possibly in a certain order, to produce such a fertile cradle. And how do you even scan exosystems for such characteristics, without a revolutionarily much more powerful telescope that can directly image a lot more of them (perhaps not enough to see more than single coarse pixels, but enough to get much more accurate spectroscopy at least) than we can at present. We might even be able to find a fair number that would, either directly or with some minor terraforming efforts, be able to sustain a human (or more likely a fairly pan-terran, as we'd have to take a lot of other species with us) colony... but the number with any extant life of their own could be disappointingly low, due to lacking geologic turnover or other preventative issues.
"The Solar System is Mostly Dead"
Som..."The Solar System is Mostly Dead" <br /><br /><br />Sometimes discoveries are so hyped that folks get their hopes up (about potential geothermal activity in this case), only to have their hopes dashed when confirmation of actual circumstances reveals that the hot spot is only "ordinary" geological rock/mineral ejecta from Europa's subsurface that retains heat from the Sun, then gradually releases it into cold space at night; wow...such a let down.<br /><br />Such findings point to the prospect that MOST worlds within the Solar System are geologically dead (inactive) and many of the ones with geological activity (such as Io) have their geological processes caused by external factors such as tidal forces from a primary world tugging on it. <br /><br />Dead worlds are much less interesting than living ones and the places (within our Solar System) where self-generated geological activities occur is very limited; Mercury (RIP), Venus (active vulcanism, but not much else), Mars (RIP), even Ceres is probably dead. Earth however is uber active (vulcanism, plate tectonics, radioactive decay of isotopes in the mantle and crust with primordial heat left over from the formation of the planet. Earth also has a dense atmosphere/hydrosphere to put frosting on the cake). <br /><br />Only the Saturnian planet-like moon Titan has a good variety of self-generated "living activities" such as cryovolcanos and a dense atmosphere that produces weather, including a hydrological cycle (it rains on Titan, now that is interesting).<br /><br />The problem is that everything within the Solar System is so painfully boring when compared to Earth. The more we uncover the truth, the more disappointing it appears...the Solar System is mostly dead. <br /><br />P.S.<br /><br />Guess this dashes my hopes on opening a hot springs resort on <br />Europa.
I've been spending a lot of time on a proposal...I've been spending a lot of time on a proposal to change the status of Pluto. If an object must be massive enough to "clear it's orbit", vague rule if I must say so, then why do the planets sharing their orbits with asteroids (mainly Mars and Jupiter) have planetary status? Sure, they're much more massive than the asteroids, yet Pluto is also much larger than the various other KBO's in its proximity. Following the flyby of Pluto from New Horizons, we have a new understanding of the body, including the discovery of clouds in its thin atmosphere, and the revelation of its size being larger than any other KBO. So if Pluto's orbit isn't "clear", then why are the planets who also share their orbit with smaller objects have planetary status. It begs the questioning.<br /><br />But who's gonna listen to a twelve-year-old? Oh well.
Write more posts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...Write more posts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Per Gordon Shumway in the mid 80s the next planet ...Per Gordon Shumway in the mid 80s the next planet out the Alvin followed by Dave.
Why does the thermal model put a cold spot on that...Why does the thermal model put a cold spot on that location? In the data, the difference from the surrounding area seems rather small.
Technology is endless at present, it needs to be c...Technology is endless at present, it needs to be consistent in improving technology. Thank you :)
did you name the moons . you found them.did you name the moons . you found them.
Since 2007 OR10 was given a female nickname, Snow ...Since 2007 OR10 was given a female nickname, Snow White, and since there are not many planets with female names why not give it a female name. I would suggest Meg or Lillah.
more or less.more or less.
Hi,Is the Europa hot spot at Pwyll?Hi,Is the Europa hot spot at Pwyll?