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Pluto should be given its status of planet back, claim scientists

Pluto was demoted to “non-planet,” according to definition approved by International Astronomical Union (IAU) in the year 2006 and the number of planets from then dropped from nine to eight.


By   |  Updated On : March 20, 2017 07:58 PM
Pluto should be given its status of planet back, claim scientists

Pluto should be given its status of planet back, claim scientists

New Delhi :  

Pluto should be given the status of a planet along with more than 100 celestial bodies in solar system, including moons of Jupiter and Earth, according to scientists who claim that the icy dwarf has been wrongly designated.

Pluto was demoted to “non-planet,” according to definition approved by International Astronomical Union (IAU) in the year 2006 and the number of planets from then dropped from nine to eight.

The change was a subject of much scientific debate and made no sense said Kirby Runyon, a scientist at the Johns Hopkins University in the US. Pluto was smallest of the nine planets and its diameter being under three-quarters of the moon and approximately a fifth of the Earth.

Still, Pluto “as everything going on its surface that you associate with a planet. There is nothing non-planet about it,” Runyon said.

Well researchers have asked for a definition for Pluto that tells the intrinsic qualities of the body itself, other than the external factors like its orbit or objects around it.

They define a planet as “a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion,” which has enough gravitational heft that maintains a roughly round shape even if it bulges at the equator because of the forces that are three-way squeeze created by its gravity and influence of both the sun and nearby larger planet.

This definition is different from the three-element IAU definition in a way the there has been no reference made to the celestial body surroundings. The part that required a planet and its satellites move alone though their orbit- did not include Pluto. Well Pluto fits the IAU definition as it orbits around the Sun and it has large mass that the forces of gravity have made it round.

Researchers argued in the past that IAU definition also excludes Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune, which share their orbits with asteroids. The new geophysical definition does not include stars, asteroids, black holes and meteorites but everything else in solar system is included. And this would increase the number of planets from eight to 110. That expansion is part of the appeal of the new definition, said Runyon.

The new definition, which does not require approval from a central governing body, is also more useful to planetary scientists, researchers said.  Most of them are closely affiliated with geology and other geosciences, thus making the new geophysical definition more useful than the IAU’s astronomical definition, they said.

First Published: Sunday, March 19, 2017 05:22 PM

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