Pluto should get back its planet status, claim astronomers

August 10th, 2008 - 3:09 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Aug 10 (ANI): Former ninth planet Pluto should get back its planet-status, say leading astronomers.

This week, many senior space scientists, including NASA experts will be debating the controversial decision by the International Astronomical Union, the body which demoted Pluto to a new kind of celestial underclass now known as “plutoids”.

The experts will be asking the body, responsible for astronomy nomenclature, to redefine what constitutes a planet. They claim that the revised definitions are confusing and will mean that newly discovered planets in solar systems outside our own can no longer be described as such.

Scientists, speaking at speaking at the Great Planet Debate conference in the Maryland, will be calling for the icy globe to be reinstated as the ninth planet.

According to the current classification, all small and nearly spherical objects like Pluto orbiting beyond the eighth planet from the sun, Neptune, are now plutoids.

“It has never before been necessary for any organisation to define a word that has been in common every day use so I see no reason why it was necessary on this occasion, The Telegraph quoted Dr David Morrison, director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute in California, as saying.

He added: “Astronomers use adjectives such as giant and dwarf to describe different subclasses of objects like planets, stars and galaxies, so why could Pluto not remain as a dwarf planet just as Jupiter is a giant planet.

“Also, around 90 per cent of the planets we know now are outside our solar system, but under the International Astronomical Unions definition, they cannot be classed as planets.”

In fact, the scientists will also propose the use of a simple shape-based mechanism for categorising planets.

Mark Sykes, from the Planetary Science Institute will argue that roundness should be the only category that is applied, which, according to him would take the number of planets our own solar system to 12.

Traditionalists at the International Astronomical Union now fear that with the discovery of more smaller objects, there will be an ever increasing number of planets in the solar system.

Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson, from the American Museum of Natural History, will argue that Pluto does not deserve to be a planet. (ANI)

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