From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Featured article Pluto is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Featured topic star Pluto is part of the Dwarf planets series, a featured topic. This is identified as among the best series of articles produced by the Wikipedia community. If you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on October 7, 2007.
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Solar System (Rated FA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Solar System, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the Solar System on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
For more information, see the Solar System importance assessment guideline.
WikiProject Astronomy / Astronomical objects  (Rated FA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon Pluto is within the scope of WikiProject Astronomy, which collaborates on articles related to Astronomy on Wikipedia.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Astronomical objects, which collaborates on articles related to astronomical objects.
Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team / v0.5 / Vital
WikiProject icon This article has been reviewed by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team.
Taskforce icon
This article has been selected for Version 0.5 and subsequent release versions of Wikipedia.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the quality scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is a vital article.

Would like to add an update on the Exploration of New Horizons exploration=[edit]

Hello, I came across a recent article updating on the New Horizons exploration. I would like to be able to add the image into the Explorations section as well as providing a description about the image. FatalGravity (talk) 22:31, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: - - You are advised to upload an image first using Upload Wizard to make it usable in any Wikipedia article. See also, Wikipedia uploading images. Please note that the image/s you upload, should not be copyrighted, otherwise must meet Wikipedia non-free content standard. -Anupmehra -Let's talk! 22:56, 8 August 2014 (UTC)


Is using the first dash in tenth-most-massive correct or should that be removed? JEMZ1995 (talk) 02:04, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Probably kept. Otherwise it sounds like the tenth to be discovered that was most massive. Though sometimes when an attributive phrase + word is made attributive again, the first hyphen is dropped. Maybe a better question for the MOS. — kwami (talk) 02:44, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
The best English usage in constructions like "tenth most massive body" does not have hyphens. Hence my edits to remove the hyphens. Possibly someone can prove that I'm wrong. If so, provide the (strong) evidence, and I will thank you. (By the way, one certainly can't have only one hyphen so I agree with kwami as far as that goes.) Zaslav (talk) 02:33, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
"Tenth most massive" suggests it's the tenth object to be the most massive, like "the tenth heavyweight champion", and thus is now the most-massive object in the SS. Okay, perhaps it's obvious enough that that a literal reading is wrong that we don't need the hyphens, as with "high school student", but as an encyclopedia we support precision, you can hardly argue they're incorrect. (Also, since you're arguing for the change, it's up to *you* to prove your point.) — kwami (talk) 02:39, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
"Tenth-most-massive" is a compound adjective (in this case, a triple compound) so, yes, the hyphens are needed. Skeptic2 (talk) 05:02, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm not so sure about all that. Consider a rewording: "Pluto has the tenth greatest mass of any body observed directly orbiting the Sun." Would you argue for hyphenating tenth-greatest?
[re:] Yes. That's what hyphens are for. — kwami (talk)
[re:] No, FeRD_NYC has it right. A single hyphen there looks ridiculous. (IMHO. My editor friend probably disagrees but he allows for two correct opinions.) Zaslav (talk) 03:58, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Also, I meant that as an imperative: consider a rewording. The reason the current phrasing is contentious is because it's ugly and awkward, in either form. It reads like an attempt to shoe-horn information into the lead sentence, comfortable grammar be damned. ...Purely IMHO! — FeRD_NYC (talk) 16:33, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Rewording should be done to improve the wording, not to avoid punctuation. But if you have a better way to say it, go for it. — kwami (talk) 06:17, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

kwami is mistaken about English usage. "Tenth most massive", like "tenth largest" or "tenth smallest", is a standard English construction that unambiguously means "tenth down the scale from the most massive/largest/smallest" and does not require hyphens. It will not be misunderstood by those familiar with standard English. kwami, if you think I'm wrong, give evidence. You failed to give evidence that your hyphens are correct. I have been reading English for a long time, including good English by good writers, and I have seen this construction often enough, with no hyphens. Stop reverting without knowing enough about good standard English. Zaslav (talk) 06:21, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

No, you are pushing the change, so it's up to your to prove your point. You started an edit war over this, which might not go well.
Yes, the hyphen is commonly left out, just as it is in high school student, because that's a common-enough phrase that no-one will mistake it for a school student that's high. Nonetheless, high-school student is not incorrect, and some publications insist on it. — kwami (talk) 06:27, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
I didn't start an edit war. I made an edit to correct what I believed to be an elementary error in use of hyphens. You reverted it without explanation, thereby starting a war.
You apparently don't know the standard English construction "tenth largest X", or you wouldn't claim it is ambiguous.
Your analogy is mistaken. "High school student", which I agree is best written "high-school student", is not grammatically similar; for instance, "school" is not a comparative. Your grammar is not shown in a good light by this analogy.
Your hyphenation is not that good in other ways. The hyphen in "common-enough" is incorrect. Also, the hyphen in "no-one" is very old-fashioned, though it pleasantly reminds me of Jane Austen. Consider the possibility that you may be a hyperhyphenator. (I hope that sonorous term is seen as a joke.)
As for who has to justify what, I don't care. I do have to worry about wasting my time teaching grammar, when I have much else to do. Zaslav (talk) 06:01, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
Reverting someone is not starting an edit war. Pushing back when you've been reverted is edit-warring. At least, that's the definition here on WP.
It may well be that the passage is better without the hyphens. But that's a matter of typographic style, not "grammar". — kwami (talk) 15:00, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
It is a matter of correct usage of hyphens, which is "grammar", not "typography". Please study the difference between typography and grammar, and please study how to use hyphens.
Concerning edit wars, I quote from Wikipedia:Edit_war#What_edit_warring_is: "When reverting, be sure to indicate your reasons." I repeatedly asked you to do so before you actually did bother, so I think you're not on solid ground in blaming me. Frankly, to me it looks like joint responsibility; I accept half of it. Note that I have tried to explain standard English usage. Since neither you nor I has cited any outside expertise, it remains, to date, a difference of opinion under WP rules. Zaslav (talk) 05:24, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
For an example of correct usage see List of largest cities and second largest cities by country. This was the very first hit in a Google search for "second largest", by which I was looking for documentation of my claim about correct usage. I couldn't resist posting this example immediately. Zaslav (talk) 02:46, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
"For an example of correct usage see List of largest cities and second largest cities by country.". Yes, but note that in the first line of the entry this has been corrected to "second-largest". I suppose that changing the headline would break many links so they couldn't correct that. Skeptic2 (talk) 09:37, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
For an example of "incorrect" usage (according to me) see China Passes Japan as Second-Largest Economy, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2010. I think this is actually a case of plausibly potential ambiguity without the hyphen (especially as it's a headline), which "tenth most massive" is not. Zaslav (talk) 02:51, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
My search seems not to get any site that states a rule, but the overwhelming majority of examples avoid the hyphen (about 5-10:1, at a guess). That's not the best argument about good standard English, as most of these examples are headlines or corporate speak, not literature. The proof remains open. Zaslav (talk) 02:57, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Punctuation is not "grammar", but that's beside the point. Hyphens are often dropped when the meaning in clear from context, in established phrases, etc. There are publications, for example, which insist on hyphenating high-school student, and despite the fact that that is minority usage, WP tends to follow, because we're an encyclopedia and place a premium on precision. Not saying we have to here, but it is a strong tendency. — kwami (talk) 20:08, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
This punctuation is grammar, because the reason for it is grammatical. I hate to keep arguing with you but you insist you're right, you don't pay attention to evidence, and you persist and persist and persist in refusal to learn more of grammar. You explain nothing, while I explained why "high school student" is a false analogy. This is not a case of dropping hyphens, it is a case where the grammar does not call for a hyphen. I notice you ignored the fact that WP has (at least several times) not used the hyphens in this construction, in titles no less. Zaslav (talk) 20:22, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
You have a different definition of "grammar" than linguistics does, but that's completely irrelevant. Looking at sources familiar with the subject is not always the best guideline for us, because we present material to a readership that is often not familiar with that subject.
Grammatically, "tenth most massive" is an attributive phrase. Attributive phrases are generally hyphenated. Exceptions occur when a hyphen is not needed for clarity (under the typographic tradition that less is more), or when we'd need algebraic notation for nested hyphenation – en dashes can handle some of that, but there's only so much we can do. — kwami (talk) 20:58, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
The hyphen is good because not for a microsecond do we think of 'tenth something' as opposed to 'tenth-most something'. Rothorpe (talk) 21:44, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
That was my thought. Sometimes I get tripped up by writing that omits hyphens because I read it as if there should be no hyphen, and the result makes no sense. It can be rather annoying. — kwami (talk) 08:28, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Last remarks on this admittedly ridiculously prolonged discussion:

To kwami: I don't have a different definition of grammar than linguistics does. Your own argument is grammatical; you refer to "attributive adjective". Yes, it is an attributive adjective. However, it is an idiom of English (which we agree has nothing to do with planets). Your own rule of "less is more" would exclude the hyphen. I point these facts out merely to show that your position is no more logical than mine, not that it is wrong. I have gone to the trouble of consulting a professional editor. He said he prefers the hyphen—though most of the house styles he's worked under prefer no hyphen—but it could go either way. I am sorry we got into a war. As I'm not fighting over this any more, I hope that closes the matter.
To Rothorpe: I am sorry you don't know the English construction "tenth most viscous" (or "tenth thickest", or maybe you do know that version), because I think it's pretty and I'm fond of it. On a different note: As is common in writing, your "we" means "I" and maybe some other people. And thank you for pointing out that "tenth-most" differs from "tenth most". Zaslav (talk) 03:50, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Preparation for New Horizons Flyby[edit]

When the New Horizons probe passes by Pluto in July of 2015, it will create a huge amount of new information about Pluto, not to mention the clearest photos of it ever taken. As such, a great deal of editing will have to be done on Pluto's article at that time. I feel as though we should plan some the changes now so that they can be applied quickly and without controversy when the time comes. First off, I would replace the animation at the top of the page with the best available photo from New Horizons. As well, I will be patrolling the page since its views will, pardon the pun, "skyrocket," at that time, thus increasing levels of vandalism. Beyond those two things, I am unsure as to what should be done. Does anyone else have any ideas? PHENYLALANINE (talk) 18:09, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Exciting, no? First thing to remember is, be bold! It is impossible to irreparably damage the page. Pluto isn't exactly a controversial object, so I doubt there will be much trouble - we do an ok job with mass shootings and stuff that are much more emotional and attract more "woo" types. One thing I notice is the article's WP:LENGTH; at 120k, it is on the long side even without any New Horizons information. Maybe splitting the "Orbit and rotation" section to a child article would make sense to keep the total length reasonable? That section is pretty long, and unlikely to change much as the result of the NH flyby. VQuakr (talk) 19:30, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Of course Pluto is controversial, especially since the head of the NH mission maintains that Pluto is a planet. (He also maintains that the Moon is a planet, but no-one edit wars over that.) We're going to get tons of fly-by-night PLUTO IS A PLANET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! edits, and may need to semi-protect the article.
[Oops, it is already semi-protected. We'll still need to watch it.]
I wouldn't want to replace the image until the NH images are of comparable quality. No sense replacing it with a little white dot with an arrow that says "Pluto". — kwami (talk) 20:07, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Well, I think much of the article can remain as it is even after the NH flyby. The biggest changes will be in Physical Characteristics, Satellites, and Exploration. Perhaps we could consider moving a lot of the pre-NH flyby info in the Physical Characteristics section to the Exploration section, making it more of a "History of Observations" section (see Io (moon) for an example). Mass and size will be simplified because right now it is mostly an explanation of how our current estimates are derived. Origins may see some major changes, but probably not for 1-2 years after the flyby as the results get analyzed. Also keep in mind that we won't see a lot of data coming back quickly since playback of the flyby data will occur over a 9 month period. So don't expect to make lots of changes to this page on July 16, 2015 beyond maybe changing the databox image. --Volcanopele (talk) 20:36, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

NASA will be releasing photos for the press shortly after the flyby, so I think we will be able to change the data box photo fairly soon after July 14. Because there will be a great deal of "Pluto is a planet!" vandalism around the flyby, I therefore propose that we lock the page from July 7, 2015 to July 21, and have an admin make the necessary changes during that time. Your thoughts? PHENYLALANINE (talk) 22:07, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

We don't do preemptive protection. VQuakr (talk) 01:34, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Understood. I'm fairly new at editing, so I'm unaware of all the protocols. In any event, the protection could be done if and when vandalism becomes a problem. Back to the matter of what changes will need to be made. The "Exploration" section will probably be expanded several fold. This will add length to an article that is already quite large. Perhaps, as Kwamikagami suggests above, parts of this article should be split off into daughter articles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by PHENYLALANINE (talkcontribs) 02:48, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

For what it's worth, WP:NO-PREEMPT stands for the proposition that we don't do pre-emptive full protection, not that we don't do pre-emptive protection at all (e.g., pre-emptive semi-protection). The Friday the 13th article, for example, is routinely vandalized every Friday the 13th, and has been pre-emptively semi-protected for a few days before and after to prevent recurrences. In this case, the anticipation of vandalism probably does not meet the criterion of "pattern of heavy sustained vandalism" required for pre-emptive semi-protection, however. Although, if one can point to other fly-bys or similar events sparking vandalism in other articles, that would probably meet it. TJRC (talk) 21:46, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Pluto is permanently semi-protected, and has been for years, as I believe are all the Solar planets. — kwami (talk) 00:52, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Two Weeks vs. Six Days[edit]

It's my understanding, after speaking with someone at Lowell Observatory, that Tombaugh actually took images on the telescope every six days--not every two weeks like this page states. In fact, in the sentence regarding the "discovery" of Pluto upon viewing the Jan 23-Jan 29th plates, those dates are six days apart and not two weeks as the previous sentences imply. (talk) 08:39, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

The two weeks figure isn't in the source, so I'll take it out. Serendipodous 10:36, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Largest object in the kuiper belt[edit]

First of all, to demand an absolute statement of truth about anything is ridiculous. It's possible that we might find a KBO larger than Pluto, but then it's also possible that we might find an asteroid larger than Ceres. Of course, we haven't found one in 200 years but still you can't absolutely rule it out, just as you can't rule out Russell's teapot. As for locating a source, that's difficult, if not impossible. Why? Well, aside from what I just said, most of the major astronomers tied to this issue use a different definition of "Kuiper belt" than Wikipedia does. For instance, here is Mike Brown talking about the end of the survey. He says that it is possible that 1 or 2 large objects may still be found, but he isn't talking about the Kuiper belt as described on Wikipedia; he's talking about the Kuiper belt+scattered disc, which could very well have large objects left to find. In fact two have been found in the scattered disc since then. So why does Wikipedia use a definition of the Kuiper belt that excludes the scattered disc? Because the IAU does. So we're at odds with most sources we could locate. It's a frustrating situation, but there you go. Serendipodous 20:50, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Why not just let it be the largest KNOWN object?[edit]

I will readily admit that there are greater and lesser truths here. But the least of the truths is claiming that we know for sure that Pluto is definitely the largest Kuiper Belt object. We don't know, and we won't for quite a while. The Ceres example is very weak. Radar Astronomy can be very effective for nearby regions like the asteroid belt. I have no problem with the claim that Ceres is the largest object in the belt. Plus the presence of Jupiter ensures that there is nothing hidden out there. But none of these points works very well in the Kuiper Belt. Both radar and optical astronomy have shortcomings that far out. You should know the math of the diminishing returns per distance. We will simply never know until we go there, and do a detailed survey. Saying that Pluto is the largest known object just seems like such an easy way to cover all the bases, keeping Wikipedia as factually accurate as possible. But you (and others) have fought tooth and nail to keep the word KNOWN out of that sentence, and now you are fighting just as hard to remove the citation note. Your zeal for this reminds me of the 16th century Catholic hierarchy. Why are you fighting so hard for a fallacy? It's time to admit that our knowledge is limited, and will remain so for quite a while. Saying that is the largest KNOWN object out there is the greatest truth. Will102 (talk) 21:38, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

The very fact that you keep mentioning Eris shows you've completely missed the point. I am going to say this very, very clearly:


OK? Do you get it now? Do I need to repeat what I said in my above post? Let me say it again:


Yes, if you search online you will find plenty of sources saying Eris is part of the Kuiper belt, but they are using a definition of the Kuiper belt different from the one Wikipedia uses. The definition of the Kuiper belt that Wikipedia uses covers an area from 30 to 48 AU only. In that region, the likelihood of finding another Pluto-sized object is tiny. Serendipodous 21:46, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

OK, references to Eris have been removed.

Now, it's time for you to consider the other 99.9% of my post, since the mention of Eris distracts you so much. And, since you love shouting so much, I'll shout it at you:



And, my favorite:


You asked me to be reasonable and take it to the talk page. I did so, and you jumped the shark. In bold and all capitals, no less. Which is seriously abusive. Do I honestly have to launch a series of formal complaints against you to get you to stop behaving so badly, and have a reasonable discourse?Will102 (talk) 05:10, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

The fact that you call talk page discussion "reasonable" is a tacit acknowledgement that your behaviour up to now has been unreasonable. And it still is; how could I possibly find a source that specific? You're asking to prove a negative. At some point, you have the option of saying things are definite. I mean yes, we could say, "The Sun may rise tomorrow", or "The house is white on the side I see". But at some point you have to make the call. Serendipodous 07:06, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
If y'all are interested, I don't have a source for it, but I recall that it was said at a recent astronomical meeting that, statistically given the various detection limits and existing surveys, that there still could be maybe one or two Pluto-ish sized objects we haven't found yet. So largest known KBO is playing it safe. In a few more years we can drop the "known," though (e.g. LSST would have a 100% detection rate of Pluto sized KBOs). Sailsbystars (talk) 05:32, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
What definition of the Kuiper belt does it use? Serendipodous 07:06, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

March 2014 re-visit[edit]

We can safely state that Pluto is the largest KBO currently within 50AU of the Sun. We can also state Jupiter is the largest planet (currently within 26000AU of the Sun). WISE failed to prove there is NOT a 1.1 Jupiter mass object 30000+ AU from the Sun. Does anyone seriously want to claim Jupiter is merely the largest KNOWN planet? At some point you have to be logical. So the questions are:

  • How does Wikipedia want to define the Kuiper belt and Scattered disc? Four billion years ago the Kuiper belt only extended to around 50AU from the Sun.
  • Does the scattered disc extend to the core of the Oort cloud and where exactly is the heart of the Oort cloud? -- Kheider (talk) 17:53, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

As I wrote on my talk page in March 2014: "In the early 2000s there were multiple surveys by Mike Brown's team. Scott S. Sheppard's team has been doing a survey for a few years now. There are probably many Pluto-sized objects yet to be to discovered in the Scattered disc that are currently more than say ~100AU from the Sun and thus evading discovery. But there is no reason to assume a bright Pluto sized object has been missed by numerous surveys within the traditional Kuiper belt region roughly 30-50AU from the Sun. We can be ~99% certain that any discovered object larger than Pluto will fit Wikipedia's usage of the term Scattered disc object. For a similar reason, we do not worry about discovering an object larger than Ceres inside of the asteroid belt. It is partially a question of semantics since after all the MPC now often lists centaurs and SDOs together. Most people would not consider Sedna to be a Centaur, but the MPC generically lists it as such. Even the DES lists Sedna as SCATNEAR. -- Kheider (talk) 13:46, 29 March 2014 (UTC)"

The only authority we have is the MPC, and they divide the transneptunian population into "Trans-Neptunian objects" ("main belt" KBOs) and "scattered objects" (SDOs and centaurs). There's no perfect solution, but calling the "trans-Neptunian objects" the "Kuiper belt" seems like the best, at least it seemed that way years ago when we first had this conversation. We don't technically know if Sedna/vp113 are Oort Cloud objects yet, so there's not really an issue there. Serendipodous 18:26, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

Traditionally Oort cloud comets have been objects on multi-million year orbits with aphelion approaching ~50000AU from the Sun. Claiming dwarf planets such as Sedna/VP113 with aphelion well inside of 1500AU are inner Oort cloud objects is kind of comical and demonstrates how worthless these semantics can be. -- Kheider (talk) 20:38, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
I think I was confusing TNOs and KBOs with my earlier statement. So long as we're just describing the Kuiper belt we should be fine saying Pluto is the largest. On the other matter brought up here, I expect we'll get some refinement in the definition of Oort vs. Scattered disk after LSST is able to better characterize those populations. Sailsbystars (talk) 20:53, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
The Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS) would also help greatly with understanding planetary migration, the Kuiper belt and the Scattered disc. -- Kheider (talk) 01:34, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

So does this mean we have consensus to take off the citation tag? Because it caused problems earlier and I really shouldn't be the one who does it. Serendipodous 09:02, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

I think so. I went ahead and removed it. Having read up a bit more, the only place in the Kuiper Belt where we might have missed something is in the parts of the galactic plane avoided by surveys. It's a small enough number,though, that Occam's razor outweighs Russell's teapot. Sailsbystars (talk) 14:40, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
Since the surveys have been going on for 10+ years, I think we can be confident that an object larger than Pluto within ~50AU of the Sun would have moved out of the galactic plane by now. Such an object would also be bright enough that people specifically studying the galactic plane might have noticed movement in time lapse images. -- Kheider (talk) 15:27, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
10 years is only 4% of Pluto's orbital period. And there is a diagram at the top of the Kuiper Belt page that shows a huge gap in the known KBOs in the direction of the Milky Way that is much larger than 4% of the belt.Will102 (talk) 16:04, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
That image is from 2007 data. Do not revert against consensus until you have reached agreement with others on the talk page. Serendipodous 16:07, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
The problem with this argument is that an object as big and close as Pluto would still be a bright target even if it was taking years to cross the galactic plane. And yet no-one has accidentally stumbled across this unknown Pluto-sized/distanced KBO in the last 50 years. Such an object would move from one constellation to another in less than 20 years. -- Kheider (talk) 17:29, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Citation needed[edit]

@Sailsbystars: Just curious, what possible rational can you have for not allowing a citation tag to remain and possibly cited ? Mlpearc (open channel) 16:20, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

P.S. Does a citation tag really need consensus ? Mlpearc (open channel) 16:24, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
They're not pretty. Rothorpe (talk) 16:31, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
The consensus is that the citation tag is disruptive. We can be very confident Pluto is the largest KBO within 50AU of the Sun. -- Kheider (talk) 01:34, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
The citation tag was causing confusion, as others tried to "fix" it without knowing the problem. It may someday be possible to find a source that answers Tim's claim, but, given the fact that the definition of the Kuiper belt itself is still disputed, it's unlikely in the near future. Yes we don't know definitively that Pluto is the largest object in the Kuiper belt, but we also don't know definitively if Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System, or if the Sun is the Solar System's only star, and we feel comfortable making the claim in either case. Serendipodous 16:41, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Sounds more to me that the problem is a conglomerate. You'd think with a scientific article and presumably scientific editors are always open to possibilities, this seems a little closed minded. Oh, can you please expound on why a tag placed by an editor is disruptive ? Mlpearc (open channel) 16:53, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
So you're saying that we should say that "Jupiter is the largest known planet in the Solar System", or that "The Sun is the Solar System's only known star"? Serendipodous 17:01, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
It is unreasonable to expect to find an object larger than Pluto currently within ~60AU of the Sun. Since the definition of the Kuiper belt can vary, about the only reasonable compromise (that does not mislead the reader) is to change the lede to read, "the largest Kuiper belt object currently within 48AU of the Sun" (then it does not matter if someone includes SDOs as part of the definition of the Kuiper belt.) -- Kheider (talk) 17:10, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
That phrasing implies that the KB is larger than 48 AU, which, according to our definition, it isn't. And it won't stop Tim adding the cite tag again. Serendipodous 18:14, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Kheider Could you please link to the discussion that reached consensus about the {{citeneeded}} tag is not needed or is disruptive. Thank you, Mlpearc (open channel) 18:26, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Talk:Pluto#March 2014 re-visit had 3 editors agreeing that the tag did more harm than good. -- Kheider (talk) 19:08, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
I for one would like to know when we threw out the requirement for claims to be sourced to a WP:RS rather than just relying on the way of expert editors. GimliDotNet (Speak to me,Stuff I've done) 18:35, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to have my question answered: should the article on Jupiter be amended to say that it "is the largest known planet in the Solar System", or the article on the Sun amended to say that it is "the only known star at the center of the Solar System"? Serendipodous 18:44, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
@Serendipodous: Why not ? it's not false, are you sure Jupiter doesn't already say that ? information in a Encyclopedia who'd a thought. Mlpearc Phone (open channel) 18:56, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
I checked, it does ! Mlpearc Phone (open channel) 18:58, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Forgive me, but where? Serendipodous 19:00, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
The lede of Jupiter says, "Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet in the Solar System." -- Kheider (talk) 19:04, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
@Kheider: Thank you. Link please. Mlpearc Phone (open channel) 19:07, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
NASA's no object larger than Jupiter exists out to 26,000 au The Pluto issue is somewhat of a unfalsifiable claim and depends on whether an astronomer considers the scattered disc to be part of the Kuiper belt. Wikipedia treats the Kuiper belt and scattered disc as separate regions. -- Kheider (talk) 19:32, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Tags on well-watched articles with active talk pages are inherently disruptive (whether it be citation needed or that useless "neutrality" tag). There was a discussion on these pages and there seems to be a decent bit of evidence that it's extremely unlikely that there are any objects larger than Pluto in the Kuiper belt. I removed based on that consensus, but even without that consensus, the tag does nothing but stake out a viewpoint in our article. The better solution is talk page discussion over the phrasing, which is ongoing. I agree with Serendipodous's summary below and with the full protection. Edit warring a tag into an article is pretty much the most useless thing one can do on Wikipedia. Sailsbystars (talk) 02:06, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Full Protection[edit]

I've placed the article under full protection for two days. Try to get consensus on that 'Citation Needed' issue, take it to WP:DRN, but don't engage in debate through edit warring. If you'd like a third opinion, I'd be happy to help out if I can. Cheers, Lord Roem ~ (talk) 19:13, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Go right ahead. The issue is difficult to resolve, however. Serendipodous 19:17, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Your opinion would be appreciated, I seem to be stumbling all over myself :P . Mlpearc Phone (open channel) 19:18, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
At the very least, I do think there was some consensus earlier in this discussion to remove the 'Citation Needed' tag. As to what it should actually say? Hmm... this does seem tricky. Perhaps something along the lines of the suggestion above: "the largest Kuiper belt object currently within 48AU of the Sun," or something to that effect? Maybe add 'currently known'? Basically, if the literature isn't clear on naming, I think explaining the limits of the scientific consensus is the best bet. So, "the largest Kuiper belt object currently within 48AU of the Sun that's been presently discovered." Again, just spitballing ideas. Lord Roem ~ (talk) 19:27, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Edit: I should state clearly I have little knowledge of this area, though I do personally enjoy astronomy. Face-wink.svg Lord Roem ~ (talk) 19:29, 9 July 2014 (UTC)


OK, I will try to state the issues as clearly as I can, because it's quite clear most of the people involved in this dispute don't understand everything. Since I have already laid out all the issues multiple times, I am not confident that this will work. But here goes:

1. The term "Kuiper belt" currently has two different definitions, depending on the personal opinions of the individual astronomer.

a) The stable belt of objects between Neptune's orbit at 30 AU and the 2:1 resonance with Neptune at 48 AU.
b) everything beyond Neptune, including both the above region and the farther unstable region called the scattered disc.

2. Pluto is in the first region; Eris, which is larger than Pluto, is in the scattered disc. So, depending on which definition of the Kuiper belt you use, either Pluto is the largest object in the Kuiper belt, or Eris is.

3. The closest thing to an authority on this issue is the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, which, in a very roundabout way, defines the Kuiper belt in the first, more restricted sense. Because the IAU is meant to represent the collective voice of all astronomers, its definition, roundabout or not, is the one we use.

4. Unfortunately, neither the IAU nor the MPC make any claims (at least online) about which is the largest object in the Kuiper belt, because that is not their job.

5. Because the definition of the Kuiper belt is in dispute, no one astronomer's page is going to carry weight as a source, because another astronomer's page will say something different if he or she uses the different definition.

6. Adding a qualifier about distance implies that the Kuiper belt extends beyond that distance, which would go against the chosen definition.

7. Adding the word "known" would imply that Pluto's position within its population, at least as defined here, is less secure than it actually is.

8. Leaving the tag inspires other users without knowledge of why it is there to try and "fix" the problem, leaving the article in worse state than it was previously. This has already happened. Serendipodous 19:46, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Okay, thanks for putting this together. Without commenting on the merits of these issues, do the other editors who've been involved agree this is a fair characterization of the issues at hand? If not, please confine your response to getting this list right. Resolving content disputes first requires a joint understanding of where we start from. Lord Roem ~ (talk) 19:53, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
I think it is a reasonable summary. But in the interest of completeness, I will mention that Eris is known to be more massive than Pluto even though Eris is probably 10-20km smaller in diameter than Pluto. We might also mention that astronomers are not absolutely certain Jupiter is the largest planet is the Solar System. But Wikipedia treats Jupiter as such. -- Kheider (talk) 23:17, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

In August 2013 there use to be a note in the lede explaining the use of Pluto instead of Eris. Perhaps a similar note should be used explaining that astronomers do not expect to find an object larger than Pluto closer than 48AU from the Sun. Or we could partially revert the lede back to more of an August 2013 version. -- Kheider (talk) 12:15, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

@Serendipodous:, your thoughts on Kheider's idea? Lord Roem ~ (talk) 17:03, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
I have no problem with it. I doubt it will stop Tim adding another cite tag though. Serendipodous 17:09, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
We can also mention: Of the 1547 TNOs known, 1347 of them have perihelion further out than Neptune (30.1AU). (Pluto is not even listed since it comes to perihelion inside of Neptune's orbit.) -- Kheider (talk) 23:12, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
How do you stick that large url inside of the note without the Wikicode breaking? -- Kheider (talk) 06:26, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Darn, I just made a tinyurl version of that massive URL but it looks like I'd have to get it on the whitelist or it'd be blocked. Hmm.. Lord Roem ~ (talk) 16:08, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
I was able to fix it with {{Plain link|url= 1347}} -- Kheider (talk) 18:52, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Great! Lord Roem ~ (talk) 20:51, 11 July 2014 (UTC)


Under Pluto#Origins Wikipedia does state, "Though Pluto is the largest of the Kuiper belt objects discovered so far" But this statement has been in the article since March 2007 which is 2 years before Mike Brown's team announced 2007 OR10 in 2009, and 7 years before Scott S. Sheppard's team announced 2012 VP113 in 2014. This statement should also be adjusted to match the lede. -- Kheider (talk) 20:10, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Kuiper belt (4th paragraph) also says, "Pluto is the largest known member of the Kuiper belt". -- Kheider (talk) 11:59, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Protected edit request on 10 July 2014[edit]

Marc Buie's affiliation is Southwest Research Institute Azalucha (talk) 04:18, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

I can't say whether he is affiliated there but he works at Lowell Observatory. You might be thinking of Alan Stern. Serendipodous 21:40, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Azalucha (talk)I know them both personally very well. I was at Marc Buie's house last weekend. He used to work at Lowell Observatory, but he is most definitely now at Southwest Research Institute
Yes check.svg Done More or less. The quote was from 8 years ago, but the sentence made it sound more recent. I tweaked the tenses and added a caveat about it being his previous affiliation instead of his current affiliation. I think the whole paragraph reads better now. Sailsbystars (talk) 02:28, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Protected edit request on 10 July 2014[edit]

Suggested edit: in the table showing Pluto's radius, include the value of 1180 km determined by Zalucha, Angela M.; Gulbis, Amanda A. S.; Zhu, Xun; Strobel, Darrell F.; Elliot, J. L. (2011). "An analysis of Pluto occultation light curves using an atmospheric radiative-conductive model", Icarus, Volume 211, Issue 1, p. 804-818 Azalucha

Yes check.svg Done Couldn't see any reason not to add it to the table. Sailsbystars (talk) 02:43, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Protected edit request, August 26, 2014[edit]

One interesting and potentially important aspect of Pluto that's omitted in the Wikipedia page is the possibility of life in the potential subsurface ocean, which has been discussed in published literature and in recent media articles. I suggest that this topic should, at a minimum, be mentioned. One place would be at the very end of the Structure section, where the issue of an subsurface ocean is raised. In any case, it's inappropriate not to mention life on Pluto when planetary scientists (including Alan Stern) are talking about it (see link below) and when it has been discussed in reputable books (see citation below).

Suggested text at end of Structure section: "...Because a subsurface liquid ocean is a possibility, some scientists have speculated that life might exist there [1][2]"

The suggested citations where subsurface life on Pluto is discussed by planetary scientists are:
1. "Pluto and the Other Dwarf Planets Could Have Astrobiological Potential", August 22, 2014:
2. Catling, David C. (2013). Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 108-9. ISBN 0-19-958645-4.

--Charliecat1 (talk) 04:57, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Orbital resonance?[edit]

The obits don't intersect at all (even though in 2D projections it appears they do) so there's no way Pluto and Neptune could ever collide, orbital resonance or not. Bizzybody (talk) 11:46, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

the article says that over billions of years, the relative positions of Pluto and Neptune alone are not enough to protect them from collision. Serendipodous 12:15, 26 August 2014 (UTC)