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Rajeev Ranjan
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UCLA professor proposes simpler way to define what makes a planet

Since the late 1980s, scientists have discovered nearly 5,000 planetary bodies orbiting stars other than the sun. But astronomers are still working on what exactly we should call them. Today at an American Astronomical Society meeting, UCLA professor Jean-Luc Margot described a simple test that can be used to clearly separate planets from other bodies like dwarf planets and minor planets.  Margot’s test can be used to determine whether a body can clear a specific region around its orbit within a specific time frame, such as the lifetime of its host star. The test is easy to implement and it could immediately classify 99 percent of all known exoplanets. When applied to our own solar system, the test clearly places the eight planets into one distinct category and the dwarf planets — Ceres, Pluto and Eris — into another.

Full story here:
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/ucla-professor-proposes-simpler-way-to-define-what-makes-a-planet

More on planets:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet

Image credit: PIA12114: This digital collage contains a highly stylized rendition of our solar system and points beyond. NASA/JPL http://goo.gl/uoOlpE

My Astronomy/Astrophysics collection recently surpassed 40,000 followers. I would have never expected that much interest, thanks to all of you! If you haven't already, maybe also try my Space/Space Technology collection here https://goo.gl/5KP0wx , or circle me +Pierre Markuse to get all of my posts which usually are science-related.

#science   #astronomy   #astrophysics   #planets   #exoplanets   #space   #dwarfplanet  
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