Does Size Matter… for Planets, That Is?

August 26, 2009
Relative Planetary Size
Relative Planetary Size ~ Image Courtesy Dr. Michael Brown

Does size matter for planetary status? Again, that depends.

It seems that when the astronomical community considers bodies in space, a large part of their thinking goes to planetary diameter and mass. Mass affects the bodies gravitational influence, which in turns allows a planet to “control” or “clear” its orbital neighborhood. Obviously, a large diameter makes an object more important as it becomes harder to miss.

Actually, it makes sense to some degree. Astronomer Mike Brown and co-discoverer of Sedna, Eris, Makemake, Haumea and Snow White (yet to be named), declares that the dwarf planets are so small, it’s absurd to consider them planets. During the International Astronomical Union’s meeting in Rio earlier this month, Dr. Gonzalo Tancredi suggested a diameter of greater than 450 km. as the lower limit diameter for a dwarf planet. Tancredi’s speculation now grants 14 dwarf planets, 8 probable dwarf planets and 19 of unclear categorization. While this helps to determine dwarf planets, no useful minimum diameter standard for planet has yet been proposed of which I am aware. Seems unfair somehow.

But let’s consider what the astronomers are seeing. Above is one of three diagrams from Mike Brown in his recent blog Planetary Placements: ( While he and I disagree on some planetary terms, we’re in alignment on the impact of celestial discovery. I strongly recommend his blogs for understanding the astronomy of what we interpret. So anyway, check this out!

At the upper left the smaller spheres, left to right, are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and a sprinkling of larger asteroids. The larger spheres below are, left to right, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Those dots on Neptune are the larger Kuiper Belt Objects. The largest is Eris and Pluto is second. Since this diagram is to scale, the first glance notes that asteroids and dwarf planets are virtual chicken scratch when considered by diameter and mass and relative to the terrestrial and gaseous giant planets. This is why it is hard for an astronomer to reconcile a planetary status for Pluto… which of course would mean that Eris would also be a planet and likely Haumea, Makemake, Sedna and Snow White.

Actually astrologers tend to ignore two size factors regarding Pluto and other solar system objects. Astrologers know, and I am one of them, that Pluto works with staggering planetary potency in a chart. It simply doesn’t matter how big it is. However, if size matters, why do astrologers ignore Eris, who is larger than Pluto? Again (ad nauseam), Eris is larger than Pluto. Similarly, while many astrologers declare the potency of the centaur, Chiron, and again I agree, why do they ignore the centaur, Chariklo, who is notably larger than Chiron and is Chiron’s wife?

I get the astronomers’ claims based upon the diameter criteria. What I don’t get is why astronomers do not consider other aspects of a planet’s physicality, for instance, density and relative gravity. Are these not potential measures of a planet’s potency? Gravity represents a planet’s drawing power, or its ability to attract and capture the attention of other bodies. Sure small planets have less gravitational influence, but could there be a per capita consideration. Per capita, Arizona has more boats than most states. Arizona doesn’t have more boats; Arizona has more boats relative to the population base. Density addresses how tightly packed a planet is. I often wonder how big Jupiter would be if packed to the relative density of Pluto or Ceres. Density symbolically represents qualities of concentration, focus and intention.

It occurs to me that there’s a bias against gravity and density as planetary physical factors. To me it seems this is like intentionally excluding two of the five physical senses. Certainly while enjoying a great meal, it would be silly to ignore the texture of food and the scent of a fabulously prepared dinner. Why shun the delectable attributes of the intriguing dwarf planets?

But then again, I know Pluto’s potency through years of working with the horoscopes of events and individuals. Let’s not even go into the current transit of Pluto to my natal Mars. Further, my research involving the other dwarf planets has not disappointed either. Every single day a new insight arrives that confirms the potency of these intriguing, important and spiritually significant bodies. Does size matter? Not in my book. But what do I know? I’m a guy.

If you’d like to see my entire case for does size matter, please visit my website and click on the Does Size Matter hyperlink. Prowl around the site to sign up for my Galactic Times newsletter (free) and more. And keep coming back here often. That way you’ll stay aligned with what’s new out there.