8 years later: the “Pluto Debate” returns

Guess who’s back, back again, Pluto’s back, tell a friend. (Maybe)


Sourced from Creative Commons via the Lunar and Planetary Institute

Joe Britton and Katrina Scandrett

Pluto has spent roughly 4.5 billion years in the cold, but the past 8 have been particularly chilly. In 2006, Pluto lost it’s planet-status, and was re-classified as a dwarf-planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

In the past few weeks, leading Harvard science historians have challenged Pluto’s status, asserting it should in fact be reconsidered as a planet.

Their argument centers around the belief that the word “planet” is a culturally defined word whose definition changes over time.

According to a contrasting statement by the IAU, the stars just aren’t lining up for pluto at the moment. In order to qualify as a planet it must orbit the sun, be round in shape, and must not be surrounded by objects of similar shapes and size.

Pluto falls short on the third requirement because it has other “dwarf planets” near it and also has an overlapping orbit with Jupiter.

For the time being it seems Pluto stays right where it is: a “dwarf” among giants.