Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Planet Classification

Since I've become disillusioned with the IAU's planet classification system, and since I'm a science fiction writer, I've decided to make my own system.

Here is my proposed naming and classification system. Feel free to suggest alternatives. I will probably be using this system when I get back to my grand future history, multiple novel epic, The Terraforming Project. See this link for info.

Planets are visibly star-like objects , which move in relationship to the fixed star background, and that can be seen with the unaided eye from Earth. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn

Gas Giants Large objects dominantly composed of gases, but which do not use fusion to produce their own heat. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.

Stars Large objects dominantly composed of gases, but which do use fusion to produce their own heat.

Planetoids Objects dominantly composed of solid matter, which has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Luna, Mars, Ceres, major moons of gas giants, Pluto, Chiron, Xena, and other trans plutonian objects.

Asteroids Objects dominantly composed of solid matter, which have sufficient gravity to hold smaller objects on their surface. Moons of Mars, asteroid belt objects, smaller moons of gas giants, etc.

Clutter Solid objects which do not have sufficient gravity to hold smaller objects.

Notes: Rather than be wordy, I left the obvoius exclusions off, e.g. a planetoid can also hold small objects by gravity, but that doesn't make it an asteroid.

I'm curious what people think. Any obvious problems?

Within these classifications, there would be subclasses, as needed. Planets is just a historical class and isn't really useful for newly discovered objects, unless we get a visitor from somewhere else, like in "When Worlds Collide".

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