The latest research has decided that Pluto should be reconsidered as a planet. According to the new research, Pluto not considered to be a planet is ‘unvalid’.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union, a global group of astronomy experts, established a definition of a planet that required it to ‘clear’ its orbit, or in other words, be the largest gravitational force in its orbit.
Metzger, lead author of the study, reviewed scientific literature from the past 200 years and found only one publication from 1802 that used the clearing-orbit requirement to classify planets, and it was based on since-disproven reasoning.
He also added that moons such as Saturn’s Titan and Jupiter’s Europa have been routinely called planets by planetary scientists since the time of Galileo.
“The IAU definition would say that the fundamental object of planetary science, the planet, is supposed to be a defined on the basis of a concept that nobody uses in their research. And it would leave out the second-most complex, an interesting planet in our solar system,” Metzger added.
He said that he has a list of over 100 recent examples of planetary scientists who are using the word planet in a way that violates the IAU definition, but they are doing it because it’s functionally useful.
Calling the definition sloppy, Metzger said, “They didn’t say what they meant by clearing their orbit. If you take that literally, then there are no planets, because no planet clears its orbit.”
The planetary scientist said that the literature review showed that the real division between planets and other celestial bodies, such as asteroids, occurred in the early 1950s when Gerard Kuiper published a paper that made the distinction based on how they were formed. However, even this reason is no longer considered a factor that determines if a celestial body is a planet, Metzger said.