Arizona announces its official state planet, but it isn't actually a planet

Okay then. My next pet project will be assembling the asteroid belt into a new planet. Just to mix things up a little.

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Yes, some people considered hagfish to be outside the vertebrates, in which case you could change what I said to “craniates but not tetrapods”. However, that seems to have been largely dropped since most evidence shows they are closest to lampreys and lost vertebrae secondarily.

And true, they aren’t a cladistic category, but outside of a formal classification who said things have to be? Herbivores, anaerobes, plankton, algae, shrubs, parasites, prokaryotes, lichens, ratites, microbats, wasps…there are all sorts of things that aren’t clades but are still useful. I notice you didn’t object to invertebrate but it’s a lot worse than something like fish, since plesiomorphies like fins and gills may not matter for cladistics but can still be really important for ecology, identification, behavior, you name it.

For the record, I even still see “Pisces” being used in actual ichthyology papers sometimes!

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No it wouldn’t, because coelacanths and lungfish are Sarcopterygii that are not Tetrapoda, as per the very link you just quoted. I don’t know why people keep assuming I can’t possibly know what I’m talking about, but you could at least read your own source.

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I’m positively certain that 99% of the people insisting Pluto must be a planet would refuse to accept any of those as a planet. And a bunch of them would get mad over it.


I assume no research funding would come from this designation either.

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I can’t believe I’m defending this, but Pluto was first imaged by an observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. This bill was meant as a lighthearted recognition of that fact.

If you want to criticize the Arizona legislature for wasting time on this instead of other things that are more important, that’s fair, but this isn’t the act of stupidity that a lot of you are making it out to be.


Shameful. You wouldn’t call a dwarf person not a person.


I just want to say, I appreciate people who really care about something and know about it, and defend it.


Well, to be fair, Pennsylvania isn’t either. Along with Virginia and Massachusetts. But it’s just names anyhow. Let Pluto keep calling itself a planet.

Pluto: "Oh yeah, well then I guess dwarf humans aren’t actually humans :stuck_out_tongue: "

Pluto would never say such a thing.


Came here to say this. I don’t blame AZ for doing this bit of fun recognition. They’re rightfully proud that Clyde Tombaugh was working at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff when he made the discovery of the first planet (or “planet”) discovered by an American. Pluto was a big deal at the time. I would also argue that a dwarf planet is still a planet – it’s right there in the name!

To be clear, I do agree that Pluto shouldn’t be classed with the other 8 planets – but it’s the first of its kind (Kuiper Belt objects) discovered and still king of the dwarves! It deserves respect!

Edited to correct a misspelling.

A dwarf planet is a minor planet, but is not a planet.

Fish are not planets. Of that I am certain.


Once Pluto lodges an official complaint, I’m sure IAU will reconsider. :grin:

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Another idea that’s so frustrating in this is that there is some kind of disrespect in not categorizing Pluto as a planet. “Arizona hasn’t forgotten about you, Pluto” – has anyone actually? The reclassification was based on its place in the Kuiper belt, and the people studying that care more about it than anyone.

I was excited for New Horizons giving us our first real look at Kuiper Belt objects, both Pluto and Charon. It’s fascinating and I want to see more. Right now we barely know the context of what we saw. How much is shared with others around the same distance like Orcus and Vanth and little Ixion? How do they compare to more distant ones that are red like Makemake or gray like Quaoar? And then there are other questions too, like why Haumea is so strangely ellipsoid. Not to mention how many there are where we don’t even have a real value for mass and density, so we can’t even guess how usual or unusual they might be.

I want to know more, and it’s so frustrating that every bit of news about it is choked with people who aren’t the least bit interested in any of it, they just care that they grew up with nine planets, to the point that they will happily ignore or misrepresent any of the reasons that’s not its real family.


i think the iau did have one other choice worth mentioning: they could have defined a new word that created a science worthy definition of a planet; and the general term would have remained without disruption.

if they wanted to be really clever. planēt, maybe.

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Also, the part of the the problem is the term they chose: “dwarf planet”. By definition, a dwarf anything is that something, just smaller than usual. A dwarf plant or animal is still a plant or animal. If the IAU really wanted to stress that Pluto was something else they shouldn’t have waffled and just invented a new term for things orbiting a star that weren’t planets.