According to astronomers at MIT, Pluto is a planet (there has been some debate about this of late in the scientific community)– and there are even more planets beyond Pluto! Although this image is not scaled for the distance between planets in our solar system, it does appear to be reasonably scaled for planetary size, and I think it is quite dramatic. I’ve made it the wallpaper on my computer!

Astronomers proclaim Pluto is a planet – MIT News Office

According to the astronomers quoted in this article, we do not have just 9 planets, but actually 12!

“It’s time to rewrite the textbooks,” said Richard Binzel, an
MIT professor of planetary science in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

According to the new draft definition, two conditions must be satisfied for an object to be called a planet. First, the object must be in orbit around a star, while not being itself a star. Second, the object must be large enough (or, to be more technically correct, massive enough) for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape.

“We reached a unanimous recommendation on how to define the word ‘planet’ based on what nature tells us. So in reality, it is nature that has the final say on whether or not an object is a planet,” Binzel said.

Binzel noted that “the new definition for ‘planet’ can be applied not only (to objects in) our solar system, but also to objects orbiting other stars.”

Is this not yet another example of why we need digital curriculum in schools?! Whether you agree or disagree with the findings of this scientific panel, I think students in our schools studying the planets should have access to these ideas and this information! 🙂

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2 Responses to Great planet image

  1. taf says:

    I agree. I wonder how long it will take to get this info in textbooks? With a digital curriculum, it is real time!

  2. […] The interesting thing from my point of view, though, is something which was picked up by Stephen Downes, Wes Fryer and Clarence Fisher. Wikipedia already reflects the proposed changes whereas even the newest textbooks will be out of date. Strike one for wikibooks! […]

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