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Gabrielle [userpic]
Extra Credit Assignment 1
by Gabrielle (chsgurl2008)
at June 27th, 2007 (01:06 pm)

Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of modern astronomy was the "Great Pluto War". Astronomers had been looking for "Planet X" for decades before Clyde W. Tombaugh finally discovered Pluto in 1930, and until this decade, textbooks and other references listed Pluto correctly as the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto's planethood status has been the subject of much controversy since 1992, when the first Kupier Belt was discovered. Finally in 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) created an official definition for the term "planet", which Pluto failed to completely meet. In August 2006, Pluto was demoted from a planet to one of the forty-plus dwarf planets in our solar system.

For an extra 50 points, draft a timeline of Pluto's "life" in the solar system, from the time of its discovery to its demotion. Include any information you deem necessary. The only requirement is that you include the IAU's redefinition of a planet which reduced the number of planets in our solar system. There is no standard for how much information you include in your timeline. Instead, I will grade all submissions based off the one which I deem to be the most thorough and the most accurate. Each entry is guaranteed 30 points, but you can earn at least 50.

Be creative! I am leaving the assignment vague so that you may come up with your own methods.

Maximum Points: 50
Minimum Points: 30

This extra credit assignment will be due on Wednesday, July 4, 11:55 PM ET.


Happy hunting!


Posted by: Kellie (tortured74)
Posted at: June 28th, 2007 05:49 am (UTC)

1905—Lowell Observatory in Kansas, U.S., starts searching for “Planet X” due to a reasonable assumption that Uranus’ orbit was being disturbed by another planet’s gravitational pull.

March 19, 1915—The first known images of Pluto on photographic plates are taken.

February 18, 1930—Lowell Observatory’s Clyde Tombaugh notices a moving object, on photographic plates he created the previous month, that he believes is a planet.

March 13, 1930—Discovery of this body was sent as a telegraph message to Harvard College Observatory.

March 24, 1930—Planet X is officially named Pluto, after the suggestion is made by eleven-year-old Venetia Burney of Oxford, England, and a unanimous vote is cast.

May 1, 1930—The name Pluto is officially announced to the world.

1950’s—Scientists suggest that Pluto is possibly a moon orbiting Neptune. This theory is later dismissed.

1955—Pluto is calculated to be roughly the same mass as Earth.

1971—Calculations are adjusted, downgrading Pluto to be the same size as Mars.

1976—Astronomers at the University of Hawaii discover that the albedo (or reflectivity) of Pluto’s surface is extremely bright and therefore decide that Pluto cannot be more than 1% of Earth’s size.

1978—James Christy discovers a moon that satellites Pluto, and it is named Charon.

1985—Pluto’s atmosphere is discovered during an occultation.

1989—A second occultation emphasizes the findings of the previous one. Pluto’s atmosphere is said to be made up of nitrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide.

1989—The original assumption that Pluto’s gravitational pull was disturbing Uranus’ orbit is proved wrong, and is instead attributed to the fact that Neptune is larger than was previously believed.

1992—It is suggested that Pluto is not a planet, but in fact an asteroid that is part of the Kuiper belt.

August 1992—Scientist Robert Staehle contacts Clyde Tombaugh to request permission to visit Pluto.

2000—Hayden Planetarium in New York City officially dismisses Pluto’s planetary status by re-opening with a model containing only 8 planets.

2005—Two smaller moons are discovered.

January 19, 2006—New Horizons, a mission to Pluto, is launched by the U.S. government, with Tombaugh’s ashes on board.

June 21, 2006—The two moons are named Nix and Hydra.

August 18, 2006—The International Astronomical Union endorses a revised definition of a “planet” that consists of :

1) The object must orbit the Sun
2) The object must be massive enough to create its own gravitational pull.
3) The object must be gravitationally dominant, with its own satellites under its gravitational pull. This is known as “clearing the neighborhood” of all objects with a comparable size.

Pluto does not meet the 3rd requirement, and is thus demoted from a planet to a dwarf planet.



Posted by: Gabrielle (chsgurl2008)
Posted at: July 6th, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)
50 points to Ravenclaw!
Thanks to HufflepuffPride.com!

Congrats, you've gotten the maximum amount of points possible. Great job on including the entire definition. =D

Posted by: j_belletto (j_belletto)
Posted at: June 29th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
Poor Poor Pluto

I went a little out side the window, hope thats ok. :)

~ April 30, 1483 - Pluto entered inside Neptune's orbit.

~ July 23, 1503 - Pluto exited outside Neptune's orbit.

~ July 11, 1735 - Pluto entered inside Neptune's orbit.

~ September 15, 1749 - Pluto exited outside Neptune's orbit.

~ 1905 - A project called "Planet X" was started to find the "Ninth Planet"

~ March 19, 1915 - First known photo of Pluto (Although it was not known that is was Pluto at that time)

~ January 20, 1930 - First of three photos used to discover Pluto.

~ January 23, 1930 - Second picture taken.

~ January 29. 1930 - Third picture taken.

~ Febuary 18, 1930 - The three pictures where used in a blink comparator, they proved that there was a object moving across the sky. It was Pluto.

~ March 13, 1930 - News of the discovery was telegraphed to the Harvard College Observatory.

~ March 24, 1930 - Pluto was offically Named.

~ May 1, 1930 - Pluto's name was announced.

~ 1955 - Pluto's sized was calculated to be about the size Earth.

~ 1971 - Pluto's was recalcuated to be about the size of Mars.

~ 1976 - Pluto's size was again recalculated to be only 1% of Earths mass.

~ 1978 - Pluto's moon Charon was discovered.

~ Febuary, 7, 1979 - Pluto entered inside Neptunes orbit.

~ 1985 - It was discoved that Pluto has an atmosphere.

~ 1992 - I did a report in my fifth grade class on Pluto.

~ Febuary 11, 1999 - Pluto exited outside Neptunes orbit.

~ May 15, 2005 - Both Pluto's two smaller moons, Nix and Hydra, discovered.

~ January 19, 2006 - New Horizons was launched successfully.

~ 2006 - The redefinition of the term planet, which reduced the number of planets in our solar system to eight, removing Pluto from that list.

~ June 21, 2006 - Nix and Hydra were offically named.

~ January 2007 - The verb "pluto" (preterite and past participle: "plutoed") was coined in the aftermath of the decision. It means "to demote or devalue someone or something"

~ 2015 - The New Horizons spacecraft is expected to arrive at Pluto.

James ~ Gryffindor ~ DADA/Herbology

Posted by: Gabrielle (chsgurl2008)
Posted at: July 6th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
45 points to Gryffindor!
Thanks to HufflepuffPride.com!

Excellent! I loved your use of information to go outside the box. I didn't award you the full amount of points since you didn't cite your sources as stated in the directions, but I only deducted a small amount of points because I liked your timeline so well. =D

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Gabrielle (chsgurl2008)
Posted at: July 6th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
40 points to Gryffindor!
Thanks to HufflepuffPride.com!

Great job! I loved how you gave it in paragraph form rather than list form. =D

Posted by: Gabrielle (chsgurl2008)
Posted at: July 6th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
Thanks to HufflepuffPride.com!

Oh, and for future reference, please please PLEASE cite your sources. I hated deducting points for it since the directions said to cite them. =(