Debate over Pluto’s status still rages on

(ORDO NEWS) — Pluto was included in the list of planets until the International Astronomical Union determined that it did not meet the 2006 requirements.

Although Pluto is no longer considered a major planet, it is still loved by the scientific community and regularly makes headlines. NASA recently released a photo of Pluto taken by scientists to show the subtle differences between its regions.

Pluto was first talked about in 1930 when it was discovered by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh. In the early 2000s, researchers began to develop parameters that a celestial body must meet in order to be considered a planet.

In 2006, the IAU voted that a planet can be considered a celestial body that has the following features:

1) Revolves around the Sun;

2) Has sufficient mass to approximate a spherical shape;

3) Was able to clear its orbit from other objects.

IAU members also agreed that dwarf planets and planets are two different classifications. They determined that the solar system contains eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

According to the Library of Congress, Pluto does not meet the third criterion because it is not gravitationally dominant. This means that Pluto is only classified as a dwarf planet.

Dwarf planets are smaller planets that do not fit all three criteria. According to NASA, they are round, revolve around the Sun, but have not cleared their orbit. There are currently five recognized dwarf planets in our solar system: Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake, Haumea.

Some planetary experts dispute the results of the 2006 vote, arguing that the definition of the IAU is arbitrary. In 2018, scientist Philip Metzger of the University of Central Florida published a study suggesting that the planetary classification standard is not scientifically sound.

Metzger argues that a planet should be defined by its internal properties, not by its orbit, which can change over time.

“Pluto is more dynamic and alive than Mars,” Metzger said. “The only planet with more complex geology is Earth.”

Alan Stern of NASA also disagrees with the MAC. In an interview, he stated that all dwarf planets should be considered planets for a variety of reasons, one of which is that there are so many asteroids in the solar system that not a single celestial body has completely cleared its orbit of them.

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