Talk:Small Solar System body

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Smassbos?[edit]

The idea is a good one, get rid of the confusing concept of 'Minor Planet' for floating rocks. But the name is a bit long-winded, nine sylables. Some shortening needed. --GwydionM 19:54, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, a reasonable idea! So it will never be taken! Now, the SSSB:s include (of course) CCBO:s (carbon chemistry based organisms) on the SBRP (silicon based rock planet) Earth (RTH), which of course includes SSD:s (solar system dynamicists), and they will never accept any idea that follows the rules of English, or makes any sense. Said: Rursus 10:35, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Redirect required[edit]

Disagree. Should remain Wikipedia standard. But i could probably be convinced after a quick google search. Maybe this item should be discussed more fully? --Exodio 02:27, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I think confusion - he meant redirect from SSSb, not redirect Sssb to SSSb; not changing the capitalisation, just adding a caps redirect (because there's a lot of variations)... Shimgray | talk | 08:35, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
The actual spelling used in the resolution text was "Small Solar-System Bodies". Whether there is any technical relevance to either the capitalization or the hyphen I do not know. RandomCritic 08:33, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Extrasolar bodies[edit]

I wonder what term should be used for extrasolar equivalents to this class... Does anyone know of a term preferred by the IAU? 132.205.93.19 02:24, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I'd suppose that it would be just the same in another solar system. it is also likely to be decades before we can spot even Dwarf Planets in other solar systems. --GwydionM 17:09, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
We've actaully already spotted one a few years ago. PSR B1257+12 has an object (D) around it that is less than 1000km across, projected size. Perhaps it's a minor planet, dwarf planet or (major) planet. It is not known to have not cleared its neighborhood, in the upper mass range, it certainly could be rounded... If it's not round (which would mean it falls into the lower portion of its estimated mass range) it would be an extrasolar small solar system body -equivalent. There do not seem to be indications that there is anything else in its orbital zone... so it would be a major planet if its in its upper estimated mass range. But it's so small at the upper limit of that range, that it's many times smaller than Pluto ... 132.205.45.148 22:56, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
D remains unconfirmed, and is likely located in a some sort of asteroid belt according to its discoverer. If we generalize the definition to cover extrasolar planets, planet D may indeed be an extrasolar dwarf planet and the planet A, which is less massive than Moon, would become the smallest known planet (unless it is located in an undetected asteroid belt).--JyriL talk 15:08, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Merging[edit]

The article minor planet covers exactly the same thing as this one. The term "small solar system body" is and official term whereas "minor planet" is not.--JyriL talk 00:12, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Clarification: Wikipedia considers comets, asteroids, TNOs etc. as subgroubs of minor planets: That is why this page is redundant because SSSB cover same objects.--JyriL talk 20:53, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
"Wikipedia" need not consider anything, it just needs to describe the state of science; anyway it is what you and me make of it. Astronomers thusfar have always made a distinction between comets and minor planets (=asteroids), only now they lumped them together under SSSBs. Tom Peters 23:18, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I've several times arguest against including comets in the minor planet article. Because we already have an article for asteroids, minor planet article becomes obsolete in its current form.--JyriL talk 23:58, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that the most common name is minor planet (or planetoid) ... which according to Wikipedia, is the way we name things... I have no objection though to the merger. 132.205.93.19 02:22, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
'Minor Planet' has an historic meaning, covering some of what are now being called Dwarf Planets. I think it needs to stay and more added here. --GwydionM 06:23, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Keep "minor planet" as a historic term (it's not like we're going to stop using it), use this page as an overall summary. Shimgray | talk | 09:56, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
I reckon: move minor planet article to SSSB, point out that they are the same thing in the first sentence, and make minor planet a redirect to SSSB. Deuar 13:11, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Support merging. Most stuff in this article should be moved there. This article should be about historical term.--Nixer 12:18, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Largely agree with merging, two concerns though: first, whether the 'old' term 'minor planet' encompassed both the new term 'Small Solar System body' and the term 'dwarf planet'? second, did the IAU really intend to include comets in this (I think so, but it's all been done in such a rush ...)

Change to Small solar system body (do not capitalize - Wikipedia standards). That is the official term. --Exodio 02:19, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Pluto has never been a minor planet. Situation of 2003 UB313 was unclear before the definition. Ceres was (is?) an asteroid and therefore a minor planet. But on the other hand, asteroids are small solar system bodies, which excludes dwarf planets. Either not all asteroids/minor planets are small solar system bodies, or Ceres is no longer an asteroid/minor planet. My point was that both terms encompass the same thing (give or take Ceres) which does not justify a separate article. Minor planets must go, because it is not an official IAU term.--JyriL talk 15:01, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
No, this is what Brian G. Marsden, head of the IAU's Minor Planet Center, wrote me:
" The term "minor planet" continues to exist. It is precisely synonymous with "asteroid" and "planetoid".""
And:
" Given now the definition "dwarf planet" (for want of a better term), clearly applicable to Ceres and Pluto, I don't think we should continue to speak of these objects as "minor planets" (or "asteroids" or "planetoids"), ..."
Tom Peters 19:06, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Does this mean that Ceres' number 1 is now up for reassignment? :) Until new rules are promulgated for the nomenclature of "dwarf planets", they would still seem to be clsssed with the MPs for at least that purpose.RandomCritic 08:39, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Oppose I recommend that "Minor planet" be retained as a historical article covering the various uses of the term. Much of the content of "Minor planet" could be valuably merged with SSSB, however. RandomCritic 16:43, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Oppose merging, as well as deprecating "Minor planet"s and moving its contents here. SSSBs is a superclass that contains minor planets, comets, and possibly meteorites. The subclasses should keep their own lemmata, this page should just refer to the various subs. Tom Peters 19:02, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
We already have an article for asteroids. I don't see reason why have articles for both asteroids and minor planets. Or should we keep minor planets as a superclass including "normal" asteroids, centaurs and Kuiper belt objects? Isn't that a bit redundant?--JyriL talk 23:58, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, the Wikipedia should treat them "asteroids" and "minor planets" what they are in astronomical usage: synonyms (and SSSBs are a superclass also containing comets). However, a) merging would make a very long article, b) this contains various distinct types of objects that each merit their own article, only we need to find a proper name for each. Tom Peters 06:55, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

If the formatting of and assertion made in the opening words of the article ("A Small Solar System Body (SSSB) is a term defined in 2006 by the [IAU]...") are correct, should the article's name be Small Solar System Body (i.e. "body" also capitaliz/sed)...?  Unsure, David Kernow (talk) 15:04, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree, but see the discussion about "Redirect" above. Tom Peters 15:15, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
"Small Solar System body" is not a proper noun and thus, except for "Solar System", should not be capitalized. It is very common, when introducing a term that has an acronym together with its acronym, to capitalize the letters that are in the acronym, just to show how the acronym was derived from the term (e.g., Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)). In fact, this is entirely unnecessary, because usually the origin of the acronym is quite obvious. Doing so is also dangerous in Wikipedia (and elsewhere), because many people do not understand the concept of a proper noun and will believe if they see a term capitalized once that it should always be in title case. Unless the IAU has formally stated that "Small Solar System Bodies" should always be printed in title case and given some sort of explanation as to why this practice should be followed, it must be assumed that the use of title case in the quoted definition is related to the existence of the acronym "SSSB". Notice that in the quoted passage they also incorrectly used title case for trans-Neptunian object. WolfmanSF (talk) 16:37, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Why must it "be assumed that the use of title case in the quoted definition is related to the existence of the acronym "SSSB""? Why assume anything? --JorisvS (talk) 09:26, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Because use of title case for common noun terms that have acronyms is common, and as far as I am aware, the IAU made no attempt to explain or justify their use of title case in a situation where it is formally incorrect. Lots of people are sloppy in their use of title vs. sentence case. I don't think Wikipedia needs to track down the reason for every deviation from the norm, or to perpetuate mistakes that are made. WolfmanSF (talk) 18:56, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, no good reason to capitalise 'body'. Rothorpe (talk) 19:22, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Footer[edit]

is it possible to add links to all small solar system body pages?

JPL has a databse of these objects, accessible at small-body database browser which takes paramaters, ie. http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=xxxx where xxxx is the number of the minor planet etc. i don't know what the status of the data is, but it ought to be feasible to automatically add a link in the shared templatye's footer? it would require translating underscore characters to spaces before putting the page name in as the paramater or extracting the minor planet number and using that alone. m3tainfo 19:35, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Vegaswikian (talk) 18:35, 27 August 2011 (UTC)



Small Solar System bodySmall Solar System Body – The IAU resolution reads: "All other objects, except satellites, orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar System Bodies"." The 'body' has to be capitalized as well. --JorisvS (talk) 12:46, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved to Small Solar System body. Favonian (talk) 22:29, 17 September 2011 (UTC)


Small Solar System BodySmall Solar System body – "Small Solar System body" was the name of the article until a few weeks ago, when it was changed on the basis that the IAU used title case for the term in the statement quoted near the beginning of the article. However, the term is obviously not a proper noun, and thus the formally correct typography is sentence case ("Solar System" gets title case because it is considered a proper noun). This appears to be an example of a problem that frequently arises with common noun terms that have acronyms. When an acronym is initially presented , it is common to capitalize the letters in the term used to form the acronym, just to show how the acronym was created (even though, in the vast majority of cases, this would be obvious anyway). Many people then receive the false impression that the term in question should always be presented in title case. It is obvious that this is behind the IAU's mistake, because in the same statement they also incorrectly used title case for another common noun term, "Trans-Neptunian Object", and followed it with its acronym (TNO). Wikipedia doesn't use title case for "trans-Neptunian object", and we shouldn't with "small Solar System body" either. WolfmanSF (talk) 00:01, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Hear, hear. Rothorpe (talk) 00:08, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Support. Yes, that last RM was indeed ill-advisd. A pity it did not attract comment from editors who normally follow such things. (There is even a question about the case of the Ss in "Solar System", but as things stand that's how the article Solar System has it, in accord with IAU. These matters are overdue for a comprehensive review.) NoeticaTea? 04:14, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Support. A typo by the IAU is not a reason for us to do the same. I don't know why anyone would look to IAU for guidance on this type of issue. Creating an acronym is not logically a reason to change the spelling of the referent phrase. I think this all common sense, but I will cite the RS anyway: "A comet is an icy small Solar System body", or so says the BBC. Kauffner (talk) 13:44, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, a pity no-one came by (with the good counterargument; it, obviously, not being a proper noun, contrary to "Solar System"). Why didn't any of you coming here now? I think it is interesting to see how many specialists using the term and the proper capitalization for, for example, "Solar System" have followed up on the improper capitalization in the IAU resolution (and maybe add a section on this issue of capitalization?). --JorisvS (talk) 15:58, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support – repair this unfortunate mistake. Dicklyon (talk) 03:34, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Universal commons[edit]

The article title and body starts:

A small Solar System body (SSSB) is an object in the Solar System that is neither a planet nor a dwarf planet, nor a satellite of a planet or dwarf planet.

Noting that:

The formally correct typography for common nouns such as "small Solar System bodies" and "trans-Neptunian objects" is sentence case, rather than title case as used by the IAU in this instance.

  • The note is confusing because common nouns are never capitalized in sentence case, and because what "this instance" means is unclear, and for other reasons I won't get into here.
  • MOS:CAPS#Celestial bodies want's to capitalize our Solar System, like the IAU does, when talking about Pluto, but the MOS also says "Solar System... not capitalized.. when used in a general sense", and it says "In the case of compounds with generic terms such as comet and galaxy (but not star or planet), follow the International Astronomical Union's (IAU's) recommended style and include the generic as part of the name and capitalize it." (The categorization of the MOS "comet and galaxy (but not star or planet)" is another confusing issue I won't bring up here.) "Generic" and "general" just don't apply to 'Pluto as one of our Solar System's small Solar System body's'.
  • The MOS:CAPS#Celestial bodies says WP:SOURCES that are WP:INDEPENDENT dictate what is a proper name and that: 'most capitalization is for proper names or for acronyms and initialisms. Wikipedia relies on sources to determine what is a proper name; words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in sources are treated as proper names and capitalized in Wikipedia but that otherwise Wikipedia avoids unnecessary capitalization. "Small Solar System body" is entirely unnecessary in my opinion.
  • So what if the WP IAU policy seems (wrongly) to decide that "There are three new terms adopted as official definitions by the IAU. The terms are: planet, dwarf planet and small Solar System body" in their article about Pluto. The IAU was not acting WP:INDEPENDENTly in this terminology, but specifically about the why and how of "Pluto is not a planet" (there's other objects bigger than Pluto.) (I stretch the truth for our sake.) We need more input about the capitalization from scholars and professors and researchers, and Google search "small+solar+system+body"+journal shows other WP:INDEPENDENTs using the term 'small solar system bodies'. Since Pluto is of our Solar System, the term 'solar system' was capitalized, but not in [other IAU publications: the IAU uses the term small solar system body five times saying for instance
Q: What new terms are used in the official IAU definition?
A: There are three new terms adopted as official definitions by the IAU. The terms are: “planet”, “dwarf planet”, and “small solar system body.” Sources including the IAU are using the term 'small solar systm body'. Minor planet said to use the term "small Solar System body" citing the IAU Resolution 5A, but there are two things wrong with that: (1)the term used there is "small Solar-System body" with a dash, and (2) the General Assembly was called concerning Pluto:

The Planet Definition Committee of the IAU Executive Committee was charged with addressing the status of Pluto, considering the current naming procedures for minor planets, that could be put before the Prague GA in August 2006 for possible adoption.

  • Now, per Astronomy: "Astronomy is a natural science... the formation and development of the universe." and in its Use of terms section the terms "astronomy" and "astrophysics" are said to be practically almost merged. Well, physics describes universal laws, general laws, and generic terms should be used in Astronomy. Physically, "there are solar systems in our Milky Way that have comets and small solar system bodies like dwarf planets such as our Pluto."

CpiralCpiral 00:00, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Your point is that other solar systems must have SSSBs so we should use lower case, small solar system bodies? Rothorpe (talk) 00:42, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes. And next I'll link at those three or four other discussions, to here, where I finally landed. — CpiralCpiral 02:58, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
The term "small Solar System body" is defined in the article as referring to bodies within our own Solar System, so MOS:CAPS stipulates that "Solar System" be treated as a proper noun. If an article about the equivalent bodies of other planetary systems is ever written, we can worry about the appropriate terminology/typography then. Note that "small Solar System body" is not an example of "compounds with generic terms", it is a generic term. WolfmanSF (talk) 02:32, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Looking at the article, indeed it is all about the Solar System, and not about any other solar system. I stand corrected. — CpiralCpiral 02:58, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Grammar questions...?[edit]

I'm having some trouble understanding this sentence: "This encompasses all comets and all minor planets other than those that are dwarf planets, i.e. the classical asteroids with the exception of Ceres, the trojans, and the centaurs and the trans-Neptunian objects with the exception of Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris and others that will turn out to be dwarf planets."

I'm not exactly sure how to correct it and maintain the proper science, though. It would be awesome if someone could make this a little more clear! Thanks! Sir Ian (talk) 01:55, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Which part don't you understand? Do you understand "This encompasses all comets and all minor planets other than those that are dwarf planets."? Do you understand "The classical asteroids with the exception of Ceres, the trojans, and the centaurs and the trans-Neptunian objects with the exception of Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris and others that will turn out to be dwarf planets."?--JorisvS (talk) 15:30, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, there ought to be a break after Ceres. I suggest "i.e. the classical asteroids with the exception of Ceres; and the trojans, centaurs and trans-Neptunian objects with the exceptions of Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris and others that will turn out to be dwarf planets" would be an improvement. Rothorpe (talk) 17:45, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
That breaks the logic in the wrong place. Logically, it is supposed to be "[the classical asteroids with the exception of Ceres], [the trojans], [(the centaurs+TNOs) with the exception of ... and those that will turn out DPs]". Hence, the ";" in your suggestion breaks the logic of the sentence, unless you can point to trojans that are DP candidates. --JorisvS (talk) 18:01, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Another semicolon, then: "the classical asteroids with the exception of Ceres; the trojans; and centaurs and trans-Neptunian objects with the exceptions of Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris and others that will turn out to be dwarf planets". Rothorpe (talk) 18:46, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
That could work. Incidentally, do the ";"s in the sentence look weird for the casual reader, or is it just me thinking that? I'm fine with using them, because it makes the logic clear; I'd just like to avoid readers coming here complaining or asking about the ";"s.--JorisvS (talk) 19:22, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
I've made the change. We'll see... Rothorpe (talk) 20:57, 2 April 2013 (UTC)