Washington: Pluto was recently declared as a “planet” again by a popular vote of the audience, it has been reported.
The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics decided to revisit the case on September 18th, which raised the questioned in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to set a definition of what it meant to be a planet, which excluded Pluto and reclassified it as a “dwarf planet.”
They hosted a debate among three leading experts in planetary science and their goal was to find a definition that the eager public audience could agree on.
Science historian Dr. Owen Gingerich, who chaired the IAU planet definition committee, presented the historical viewpoint. Dr.Gareth Williams, associate director of the Minor Planet Center, presented the IAU’s viewpoint. And Dr. Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, presented the exoplanet scientist’s viewpoint.
Science historian Dr. Owen Gingerich, argued that “a planet was a culturally defined word that changes over time,” and that Pluto was a planet. Williams defended the IAU definition, which declares that Pluto was not a planet. And Sasselov defined a planet as “the smallest spherical lump of matter that formed around stars or stellar remnants,” which means Pluto was a planet.
After these experts made their best case, the audience got to vote on what a planet was or wasn’t and whether Pluto should be considered as planet or not.
The results concluded that Pluto should be considered as planet.