About 12 years ago, scientists declassified Pluto as a planet. Hearing about the declassification of the cutie dwarf planet everyone started to debate whether it was a right call or not. Recently, a team of researchers stated that the reason for declassifying Pluto as a planet was invalid and now they are demanding to bring it back to the family.
They said that what makes a celestial a planet is, “A celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.” The last yardstick means that a celestial body has to be the ruling one to engage or toss an object in its area.
The first two criteria bespoke Pluto as a planet but the third one bummed out everyone. She was short on cleaning her orbit, which it shared with lots of Kuiper Belt bodies. But a recent study refers that this principle ain’t supported by any scientific literature.
“The IAU definition would say that the fundamental object of planetary science, the planet, is supposed to be defined on the basis of a concept that nobody uses in their research, – and it would leave out the second-most complex, an interesting planet in our Solar System.” Said first author Philip Metzger.
Reviewing the past two century’s published researches; the researchers from the University of Central Florida found that clearing-orbit requirement to classify a planet was only used by a research of 1802. They also found that from the age of Galileo, scientists used to refer the moons such as Saturn’s Titan and Jupiter’s Europa as planets.
“We now have a list of well over 100 recent examples of planetary scientists using the word planet in a way that violates the IAU definition, but they are doing it because it’s functionally useful,” Metzger said, “It’s a sloppy definition … They didn’t say what they meant by clearing their orbit. If you take that literally, then there are no planets, because no planet clears its orbit.”
Metzger claims that when in 2006, IAU made the change that orbit-clearing was just a basic definition for the planets to pick out them from the asteroids, some reviews say that it ain’t the case, co-author Kirby Runyon from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory says, “We showed that this is a false historical claim, – It is therefore fallacious to apply the same reasoning to Pluto.”
According to Metzger, with a multilayer atmosphere, underground oceans, organic compounds, multiple moons, evidence of ancient lakes etc, “It’s more dynamic and alive than Mars, – The only planet that has more complex geology is the Earth.” He said.
The debate isn’t going to conclude this soon as an astrophysicist and Forbes science columnist Ethan Siegel wrote, “When it comes to planetary status, geophysics isn’t enough. In astronomy, the three rules of real estate also apply location, location, location. – There’s something very meaningful about our place in the Solar System that makes Earth a planet and Pluto not-a-planet. If we’re being honest about our Solar System and the number of planets within it, there are very clearly eight objects that are different from all the others.”
The debate will continue for decades, but the research shed a good light on the hope to bring Pluto back to the family. What do you think, should we bring her back?