Astronomy 23/223 Homework:

What is a Planet, Anyway?

Over the last few years there has been a great controversy over the subject of how you define what counts as a planet. To get you warmed up and think about planets, this week's homework focuses on this issue. Here are links to a few articles on this subject.

IAU Resolution B5

IAU Q&A on Planets

Pluto and the Solar System

Two articles from the New York Times about Pluto: 1 2

What to Call the Little Planet, Sky and Telescope, May 1999, by Beatty
color (but small)

The Puzzles of Planethood, Sky and Telescope, August 2002, by Denise Kaisler

Toward a Planet Paradigm, Sky and Telescope, August 2002, by Stern and Levison

For this week’s homework:


I’d like you to research the controversy of how to define a planet. In 2-3 pages (no more than 3 pages!), create a definition of a planet (dictionairy definition will not surfice), support your definition with evidence from the articles, and explain if Pluto should or should not qualify as a planet by your definition. Please cite your sources. If you have any questions about how to cite sources check this website or ask me.



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Last updated on 14 September, 2008 .