Many astronomers want Pluto to be reinstated as a planet in light of a new study that claims earlier classifications were wrong.
This five-year study — published in the Icarus research journal — outlined how the concept of a planet has evolved in relation to scientific theory and culture, further building a case to restore Pluto’s planetary status after its declassification in 2006.
- Per IGN, The International Astronomical Union previously claimed that Pluto failed to meet all three requirements to be classified as a planet: “it has to be round, orbit the sun, and have cleared its orbit of other objects.”
- Pluto shared the orbit with objects called “plutinos,” which meant it didn’t meet these requirements.
But many in the field claim that these rules were “rushed” and failed to sort out “vital issues” that merged astrology with astronomy. The research argues that the group’s definitions were based on a “folk concept of planet that contradicted the scientific view.”
- And in turn, “corrections to textbooks and curricula from kindergarten through university” will need to be made, the study states.
Pluto’s planetary status has always been a subject of controversy. Some high-profile figures never stopped treating it like a planet, including NASA chief Jim Bridenstine who said, “It’s the way I learned it and I’m committed to it,” according to The Independent.