A Planetary Classification Proposal

06/09/09 00:00:00    

By Michael Mealling

Apparently the American Astronomical Society is meeting today and is currently discussing “planethood” and the future of Pluto. I gave some thought to this last year and decided to post it here for comments. The idea is to move away from defining something as a planet or not and simply classify non-stellar objects using the Earth as a base planetary mass.

A planetary class is halfway between the mid point and the midpoint of the next class.

Planet class begins at 5 planets and goes down to .5 planets

Class Magnitude Mass Example
milli-planet 0.001 1.90 x 10^24 kg Pluto,Ceres (.0021) are in the milliplanet class
centi-planet 0.01 1.90 x 10^25 kg Mercury at.055 is in the centiplanet class
deci-planet 0.1 1.90 x 10^26 kg Mars at .107 is in the deciplanet class
planet 1.0 1.90 x 10^27 kg Earth (1), Venus (.6) are in the planet class
deka-planet 10 1.90 x 10^28 kg Neptune (17.147) is in the dekaplanet class
hecto-planet 100 1.90 x 10^29 kg Saturn & Jupiter are in the hectoplanet class
kilo-planet 1000 1.90 x 10^30 kg Upsilon Andromedae d (1,248) is in the kiloplanet class

The brown dwarf limit is 4,131 planets, or 4.131 kiloplanets. This would solve the entire debate about Pluto and the rest of the Keiper Belt Objects since they would simply range from milliplanets (Pluto) down to nanoplanets (embryonic comets).

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