What have they done to Pluto? Since it’s discovery in 1930, Pluto had been considered a planet, but of late the International Astronomical Union voted on a resolution defining the true definition of a planet. And guess what? Pluto no longer qualifies. Can you believe it? For seventy plus years it was a planet and now suddenly, it’s not. What, you might wonder is what is poor old Pluto now? It is henceforth to be known as a dwarf planet.
Can you imagine the embarrassment and the way the other eight planets must be snickering? And it’s not as though Pluto will fare any better with it’s own kind. The other dwarf planets have been so designated all of their lives, how kindly will they take to a newcomer in their midst? They probably view Pluto as a complete outsider.
How did this sad occurrence come to pass? Well, as the Planetary Society explains, “A planet is now defined as 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, and (c) has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.
A dwarf planet according to the new definition, 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, (c) has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite. Another point given is that Pluto’s orbit is not in the same ecliptic plane as the rest of the planets and isn’t circular as are the others, but is rather eccentric.
So, it appears that one of the main reasons that Pluto has been demoted from planet to dwarf planet is that it has not cleared up its neighborhood. This hardly seems fair. Many people live in very messy neighborhoods that look as though they haven’t been cleared in decades. Are any of them forced to become other than what they were? And as far as being eccentric goes, some people are down-right odd but nobody messes with them.
The world can be a very confusing place and it would be nice to know that some things can be counted on to remain constant, like the fact that there are nine planets in our solar system. Whoops, make that eight.