Pluto has been classified as the ninth planet of our solar system until 2006 when the International Astronomical Union (IAU) modified the definition of a planet. However, a recent study concluded that the IAU’s reasons to declassify Pluto were not valid. Therefore, scientists say Pluto has to be cataloged as a planet again.
As mentioned, in 2006, the IAU stated that a space object is a planet only if it is the most considerable gravitational force in its orbit and “clears” up its path around the Sun. Thus, since Neptune’s gravitational force influences Pluto’s orbit which is also full of other small and icy space objects, Pluto no longer fit the definition of a planet, so it was downgraded.
But, now, a study released last week concluded that Pluto is a planet indeed, and the International Astronomical Union (IAU) should classify it as such, again. Also, the researchers involved in the new research recommended the IAU to change the definition of a planet.
Pluto is a planet and has to be cataloged as such, a new study concluded
In their latest research, the scientists from the University of Central Florida, led by Philip Metzger, reviewed the information regarding planets from the last 200 years and only found one publication from 1802 in which the authors refer to the “clearing-orbit” requirement to catalog space objects as planets.
According to Philip Metzger, “the IAU definition would say that the fundamental object of planetary science, the planet, is supposed to be a defined on the basis of a concept that nobody uses in their research.” Also, “it would leave out the second-most complex, interesting planet in our solar system,” the researcher added.
Philip Metzger, who also called the IAU’s definition of a planet as “sloppy,” added that, if we take that for good, there are no planets out there “because no planet clears its orbit” in the way IAU thought.
Additionally, Metzger stated that Pluto is “more dynamic and alive than Mars” and that “the only planet that has more complex geology is the Earth.”
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.