Pluto was considered a planet by astronomers until 2006. But after the International Astronomical Union (IAU) ruled it out roughly fifteen years ago, a lot of textbooks had to be rewritten. Of course, many disagreed with the decision. Even Jim Bridenstine, the former NASA Administrator, firmly believes that Pluto should be considered a planet again.
The IAU has the following definition for what a planet is: it orbits the Sun, it’s spherical, and has cleared the surroundings around its orbit. Therefore, the Solar System officially has only eight planets.
IAU’s criteria are not scientific
A new study that ScienceAlert.com writes about brings the shocking claim that IAU’s criteria that led to Pluto’s downgrade are not relying on science after all. Instead, they’re based on astrology and folklore.
The researchers involved in the new study don’t agree with the criterion that an object needs to have cleared the neighborhood around its own orbit to be considered a planet. Phillip Metzger led the new research, who is a planetary scientist of the University of Central Florida. Instead, they’re rooting for another criterion to be added: that the object is geologically active or it was until a certain time.
If the definition of the word “planet” will change once again according to how the researchers involved in the new study see the situation, a lot of cosmic objects present in our Solar System will be upgraded and considered planets, not only Pluto. Even moons, dwarf planets, and asteroids will have to be known as planets.
We’ve shown through bibliometrics that there was a period of neglect when astronomers were not paying as much attention to planets,
And it was during that period of neglect that the transmission of the pragmatic taxonomy that had come down from Galileo got interrupted.
We’re eagerly waiting to find out if the new study will impact the status of Pluto in any way. Feel free to comment!