Our New Solar System

I wrote the following piece and posted it on February 10th on my predecessor blogsite, spaces.msn.com (now renamed spaces.live.com) about the hooha about what constitutes a planet and at the bottom of the piece today, I included the updates from the recently concluded IAU (International Astronomical Union) meeting in Prague held last Thursday about our 'new' solar system:-

Are we about to lose a planet or gain one? The latest tingle on the science community is that the astronomers have apparently discovered a new body which is about 9 billion miles away from the sun which apparently is about 1/3 larger than the current smallest planet Pluto. Pluto is about 2,302 km in diameter compared to new body which is about 3,100 km diamater.

The question now seems to be is that whether the new body be called a planet in which case we will have now 10 planets orbiting the sun or should we drop Pluto as being a non-planet? The new body currently designated as UB313 has yet to be named. It can only be named once it is declared as a planet.

The argument currently is centered on what should the size of the planets be? Apparently if UB313 is to be designated as a planet, there are apparently a few more bodies out orbiting the sun there which can also be designated as planets because of their sizes and their locations orbitting the sun. Some astronomers feel that any object in the solar system large enough that gravity has shaped it into a sphere should be called a planet. Others would like to demote Pluto and count only eight planets. A third possibility is to arbitrarily call anything larger than Pluto a planet.

All this argument spring to mind something I read on the internet about planets in the Al-Quran sometime ago on the Islamic Forum for Science and Arts website. In it the forum reiterated Surah Yusof (Verse 4) which stated that:-

4. "When Joseph (Yusuf) said unto his father: O my father! Lo! I saw in a dream eleven planets (Kawakib) and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves unto me."

Bear that number in mind. Not eight, not nine and not even ten but eleven. The astronomers have yet to discover more. God is All-Knowing.

Update from IAU: Pluto is now no longer considered a planet but belongs to a category called dwarf planet together with its satellite Charon. The UB313 (Xena) is also considered as a dwarf planet as well as another celestial body named Ceres. The decision however is considered controversial as only 424 out of the 10,000 member of the IAU voted to remove Pluto as a proper planet. Some have argued for the need for a strict definition was deemed necessary after new telescope technologies began to reveal far-off objects that rivalled Pluto in size, otherwise by the end of the decade, there would be 100 planets. Some of the astronomers are disagreeing and some have begun a petition to get Pluto reinstated!

Me? I sure hope those Plutonians are appreciating what we are doing.


Anonymous said…
Wow, all that argument about whether Pluto is part of our solar system or not, it's amazing... And Nabi Yusof saying there is eleven? The question now is, does the present eight(?) makes up part of the eleven? Or something else entirely... food to ponder by... The plutonians I'm guessing would be in the blue green spectrum in terms of colur, it's very cold out there ;-)
Anonymous said…
Im amazed by that fact..
Anonymous said…
Washington - "My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas." That and variations on it are the way millions of people learned to remember the names of the planets in the solar system — Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. The problem is that an international convention of astronomers decreed Thursday that tiny Pluto no longer meets the definition of a planet.

More of the world report "Now how will students learn the planets?" on Brudirect.com.
Anonymous said…
Hmm.. seeing planets in one's dream. Can it be astral projection?

I've heard that one can travel in space when one astral project.


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