In August of 2006, Pluto was declared to no longer be a planet. After years of memorizing that stupid anagram (My Very Educated Mother Just served Us Nine Pizzas) Eleven year old me was Plutoless and pizzaless. Pluto was downgraded from the title ‘Planet’ to that of ‘dwarf planet’, because it was found that Pluto shared more characteristics with dwarf planets then it did with the other 8 planets. Astronomers discovered that there were at least 70,000 other icy objects with a similar make up as Pluto, that made up the Kuiper belt.
Take Eris for example, it was discovered in 2005, and was the tipping point for Pluto’s declassification as a planet. While Eris may be farther out, it is estimated that it has 25% more land mass then Pluto, and is composed of the exact same ice/rock mixture. This meant that not only were there others like Pluto, there were ones better qualified to be considered a Planet.
There wasn’t actually a definition for the word planet until 2006, thanks to the dismissal of Pluto. Definition- “According to this new definition, an object must meet three criteria in order to be classified as a planet. First, it must orbit the Sun. Second, it must be big enough for gravity to squash it into a round ball. And third, it must have cleared other objects out of the way in its orbital neighborhood” (http://missionscience.nasa.gov/nasascience/what_is_a_planet.html) Many astronomers disagree with this new definition, and still many are in support of it. One’s argument is how does one define exactly what round is round enough to be a planet. Even everyday people are completely against the stripping of Pluto’s status, there’s a whole communities, including ebsites, clubs ad teams, dedicated to the conservation of Pluto’s original title.
So that’s what I’m asking you, do you still consider Pluto a planet? If I’m being sentimental, I would defend Pluto until the end, I have a strange soft spot for what used to be our solar systems smallest planet, but logically, with so many similar and better suited ‘dwarf planets’ to take Pluto’s title it seems almost pointless to try and argue this viewpoint. In reality, I don’t think there’s much difference between a dwarf planet and an official planet, but nobody wants to remember hundreds of names of worlds we’e never going to see in our lifetime, so perhaps it is pure human laziness that has stripped Pluto of the title that we originally placed upon it.
Is this debate even still relevant? Underneath are some links just in case you’re a little more interested in the ongoing topic of Pluto’s relevancy.