Exposing PseudoAstronomy

March 19, 2017

Podcast Episode 159: A Proposal for the Geologic Definition of “Planet,” Interview with Kirby Runyon

Definition of
Planet: Useful in science?
Or, just pedantry?

Sorry for the delay again, but I have an interview that’s just under an hour this time on a new proposal for a geophysical definition of the word “planet.”

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union sparked an uproar and furious debate among scientists and non-scientists alike when they voted for a definition of the word, planet. Numerous proposals since that time have been made for the definition of that term. Eleven years later, a new proposal has gotten a lot of media attention and in this episode, we discuss that new proposed definition. This is closer to a friendly debate style because the guest and I have different points of view on this issue.

There are no additional segments in this episode, but the interview runs 51 minutes. This is also the episode for the first half of March.

Poor Pluto

Poor Pluto



  1. Hi Stuart!

    Interesting interview. It’s a shame it was the one you already did back in Episode 157 with the Reality Check crew. Also, the “New Post on Exposing PseudoAstronomy” title was font Helvetica 270 when I opened the email. I reduced it to a more useful 28 size.

    Richard Kurgas

    Comment by ozgnp1928 — March 19, 2017 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

    • You found the one place out of 8 that I have to update the link that I messed up. Fixed now.

      As for font size, nothing’s changed in how I do things on the blog, so I’m not sure what’s going on there.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — March 20, 2017 @ 5:40 am | Reply

  2. Merely my opinion, I have always thought of moon as an orbital property, not a size thing. To me planets were round and stars has fusion and moons orbited planets (with centre of rotation inside the larger one) or twin planets (centre of orbit outside either planet)

    Comment by Bruce baxter — March 20, 2017 @ 12:46 am | Reply

  3. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

    Comment by Vincent S Artale Jr — March 20, 2017 @ 7:06 am | Reply

  4. Stu,

    Love ur show. Listen in during my commutes. You do a fantastic job at debunking in a professional manner. while i left scientific research after a few years to go the business route (i still cant figure out how i passed statistical thrmodynamics and earned a bs in chemistry) ive never lost my love of all things space related! But this episode put me to sleep. Sort of like two physicists discussing interpretations of quantum mechanics! I grew up with nine planets and yes i can still say them in under five seconds. Two all beef oatties special sauce…has nothing on me! Seriously no one is going to care if we go to hundreds of planets in our solar system because in their mind they only know a few and that isnt going to change. Your debate is almist exckusively internal to your field and a nedua tgat loves a good story on infighting in any profession.

    Your guest came off as a very bright young man but i hope he realizes the majority of folks dont view a planet debate as something of interest that helps them understand the universe better do a little research and perhaps exercises their mind to think critically.

    In other words i didnt learn much and didnt have a reason to learn more like i did on your recent imaging podcast! That guest was funny self deprecating and interesting.

    How about a podcast on fred hoyle and how he was so right on nucleosynthesis but so wrong on an expanding universe. Trying to type on my iphone while traveling. Please excuse poor grammar or misspellings!

    Comment by Titus pullo — March 20, 2017 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  5. Oh no, this is not still going on is it?

    Comment by Trebor — March 22, 2017 @ 5:41 am | Reply

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