New moon rising

This is a discussion on New moon rising within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6908190.stm At what point does a moon become a rock?...

  1. #1
    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    New moon rising

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6908190.stm
    At what point does a moon become a rock?
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
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  2. #2
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    It's 1.2 miles wide. That's, like, nothing. That's the distance
    I walk to the gas station to get a snickers. You know, if I
    were an authority in Astronomy or whatever, I'd make a
    rule that says that something has to be at least a certain
    percentage of the planets' size before it can be called a moon.

    wtf happened to adrianxyz?
    Staying away from General.

  3. #3
    Frequently Quite Prolix dwks's Avatar
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    Do you think there should be an upper limit, too? Charon is a large percentage of the size of Pluto. It's debatable whether they are a binary system or minor planet/moon system. (I sound like a Wikipedia entry myself . . . . )
    dwk

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  4. #4
    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    It's quite clear that the ancient terminology of "planet" and "moon" are now inadequate (re the debacle over reclassifying Pluto).

    For me, we have
    - 4 terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars)
    - Rocky dwarfs (Ceres and the rest of the asteroid belt)
    - 4 gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune)
    - Icy dwarfs (Pluto and the rest of the KBO's)
    - eccentric orbit objects like comets
    And that's just the things in orbit around the Sun.
    Add in things in orbit around "planets" and orbits around each other, and it needs a re-think IMO.

    I also think that naming every last pebble in orbit is just a waste of time as well just because of what it happens to be in orbit around. All the similar sized rocks in the asteroid belt don't have names. Until someone actually lands a person / probe on one of these things then they should just remain as catalog entries in some database.

    Certainly, the discovery rate of NEO's (several every day) is such that it would be futile to even attempt naming all of them, except for perhaps the ones which are really interesting (a bit too near).

    It's like seeing a forest for the first time and basing the entire naming system on the first few trees you see. Only to discover there are actually more trees than you can count, the population of trees isn't stable, there are many different species which could be trees, and there are lots of other things which definitely aren't trees.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
    If at first you don't succeed, try writing your phone number on the exam paper.
    I support http://www.ukip.org/ as the first necessary step to a free Europe.

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