What ever happened to Pluto as a Planet?


| 3 Comments
Growing up, our elementary school teachers taught us that there are 9 planets in the solar system, ending with Pluto. As a little kid, most of us were intrigued with Pluto the most because it was the farthest and most mysterious planet. Who doesn't remember the Magic School Bus episode where they visit all of the planets. All joking aside, in 2006, a committee of  astronomers declared that Pluto was no longer a Planet. How could this be?

These astronomers broke it down into three divisions seen on this link. The one reason why they decided to call it a dwarf planet instead of a regular planet was because it did not meet the requirement of a heavy gravitational pull. Now Pluto is in the same class as Xena, also referred to as Eris.

But who comes up with these requirements? And why was this not established decades ago when Pluto was discovered and referred to as a planet? This is a prime example of inconsistency in the scientific world that really has no baring on people's every day lives. This was literally a waste of money to pay these astronomers to say whether or not it should be considered a planet or not. What do you guys think about this decision made 6 years ago?


pluto1.jpg


3 Comments

This isnt actually an inconsistency in science. Pluto was discovered back in 1930 in the outer solar system. We didnt begin to discover other celestial bodies in the outer solar system until very late in the 20th century, so we didn't know that Pluto wasn't unique. To be fair you would either need to not let Pluto be a full on planet or you have to give "planet" status to every dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt. It isn't even as big as our own moon and is barely bigger than the moon that's orbits itself.

I wouldn't say it's a waste to spend money on scientific advancements. Science has to change in order to be more efficient, and sometimes that means re-evaluating previously accepted "facts" - in this case, redefining what it means to be a planet. In classifying Pluto as a dwarf planet, scientists made a huge advancement in our understanding of the universe and how it works.

I agree and see where you two are coming from but I just feel like it is such an insignificant classification in our everyday lives. This was a million dollar project with hundreds of people on staff in order to determine whether Pluto was a planet, or a dwarf planet. I understand that this may be important to some people, but I feel like this money could have been used more wisely. Everything runs on money. They could have used this money to increase the budget on black hole research, life on other planets and so on. I just didn't see a reason to change history in this scenario. Any objections?

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