A number of click bait articles have been popping up recently, particularly about ones where the headline reads “NASA Chief Says Pluto is a Planet!” Again, these are click bait titles only meant to fool you into looking into it, only to find absolutely no factual evidence!
In every article about this headline, it reveals nothing factual or nothing relating to any discoveries that push Pluto back into the main planet category. All it ever says is how Jim Bridenstine was quoted as saying at a robotics event in Oklahoma, “Just so you know, in my view Pluto is a planet,” he said. “You can write that the NASA administrator declared Pluto a planet once again. I’m sticking by that, it’s the way I learned it and I’m committed to it.”
Okay… that’s his VIEW… nothing factual. In other words, he’s saying, “It’s the way I was taught and therefore new information doesn’t exist…”
I know he’s not the only one who thinks this way, but just because you THINK Pluto is a planet, doesn’t mean it is… not according to how the planets were officially redefined by the International Astronomical Union in 2006. If you’re unsure about that, take the time to look it up! I’ve already answered “The Pluto Question” In this article.
If Pluto is a Planet, Then So Are Other Recognized Dwarf Planets and Small Bodies
Pluto was discovered in 1930, during an age when the craze for searching for “planet x” was a thing. Before 1930, astronomers had already discovered over a dozen small objects between Mars and Jupiter. For half a century, Ceres was considered a planet, and so were the other discovered objects until they were reclassified as asteroids. If this had not happened, we would have had to memorize 23 planets in elementary school instead of 8 or 9!
It wasn’t until the 1990s when astronomers were discovering objects in what became known as the Kuiper Belt. These objects shared similar characteristics, and one of them, Eris (discovered in 2005), was proven to be more massive than Pluto. Therefore it raised the question of, “why is Pluto a planet but Eris is not?” Fast forward to 2006 and the IAU redefining a planet, and the rest is history.
Pluto Is Not a Failed Planet, It’s The First Of Its Kind To Be Discovered!
Since the 2006 redefinition, Pluto is among five recognized dwarf planets. The others are Ceres, which is the only object of its type in the main asteroid belt, and Kuiper Belt objects Eris, Sedna, Haumea, and Makemake.
There are other candidates, including Sedna as among the 10 “nearly certainly” objects that have not been officially classified just yet. Astronomer Mike Brown – often referred as “the man who killed Pluto,” considers hundreds of objects out in the Kuiper Belt to be “probably” dwarf planets. It’s estimated that once the entire Kuiper Belt is explored, there will be perhaps 200 KBO’s that will be officially classified as dwarf planets.
So if Pluto is still considered a planet, then eventually, so will hundreds of other objects! Start memorizing!
Studying Solar System Objects like Pluto and Further Away Is Still A Relatively New Science!
As stated before, The Kuiper belt is a relatively new region in our solar system that we are still discovering. As did many generations from 1930 onwards, I grew up knowing there were nine planets in elementary school during the 90s, and didn’t start hearing about the Kuiper Belt until high school during the mid 2000s.
Pluto’s discovery in 1930 was merely a stepping stone in our understanding of the heavens, and it will always have its place in the history of astronomy.
Eventually, the number of people who are stuck with the old way of thinking are going to pass on, paving the way for generations who are told from the start, “there are 8 planets and x number of dwarf planets.” By then, you’ll be considered as crazy as flat earthers if you still think that Pluto is the ninth planet.
What if future discoveries lead to Pluto officially being redefined as a planet again? Then you won’t get an argument from this astronomer.
What about Planet Nine? That’s another article for another day!
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