The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Night's plutonian shore

Robin Hanson, h/t the Duck:

What fraction of people who are excited to see Pluto could name any specific thing they had wanted to learn about or from Pluto?

When I was very small I had mixed opinions on Pluto: some books portrayed it as the great Planet X that warped Neptune's orbit; others noted that it wasn't even the size of Earth's moon. By 1980ish, I'd figured out it was a shorty. During 1989 we flew a Voyager past Neptune and saw that Triton was almost certainly bigger and more massive than Pluto. By then we'd also noticed that Pluto was in "resonance" with Neptune such that it is basically another satellite itself.

Pluto's class of "planet" is the same as Triton's. All we learnt about Pluto, or can stand to learn, we had already learnt from Triton.

The real Kuiper Belt starts with Eris and continues to Sedna. Pluto wasn't worth her time; it's not worth anyone's.


posted by Zimri on 20:36 | link | 0 comments

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