July 14, 2024

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15 years without Pluto: why is it considered a dwarf planet?

15 years without Pluto: why is it considered a dwarf planet?

02/18/2021 A spherical mosaic or representation of Pluto’s surface, based on data from NASA’s New Horizons probe research and technology

For people born before 2006, knowledge about the solar system and the number of its members differs greatly from those born after that year. In old school texts, It was obvious that there were nine planets revolving around the sunThey are arranged in order of proximity to this star as follows:

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

However, after August 24, 2006, the story split in two, and the magical number of “nine planets” was reduced to only eight after the international astronomical authorities decided Pluto is descended into the category of dwarf planet or plutoid.

Today, 15 years ago, the International Astronomical Union (IAU, English acronym) decided that Pluto could not be considered a planet because it did not conform to the classification terms, controversial in themselves, which do not correspond to eight other celestial bodies whose orbits revolve around the Sun. .

in 2006 General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, Prague, Czech Republic, where new properties were created that determine whether a celestial body can be classified as a planet or not. In short, the international organization, from that meeting, indicated that any object:

1. revolve around the sun.

2. Its shape is round (or semi-circular).

3. It has orbital control, that is, it does not collide with any other body in the middle of its orbit.

Unfortunately, Pluto scored 3.33 out of fiveBecause it satisfies two of the three conditions: it revolves around the sun and has a circular shape; however, When it is superimposed on the orbit of Neptune, it turns out that it has no orbital control, Which made scientists put it down to the category of dwarf planet.

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In fact, the effect of this new form of classification on Pluto is that not only is its “rank” degraded, it is also considered “Trans-Neptune Body”, ensuring its dependence on Neptune in a certain way.

However, from its discovery in 1930 by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, until August 23, 2006 (one day before its “fall”), there have been numerous previous attempts to “characterize” Pluto led by astronomers who dared to say it, Judging by its size and proximity to Neptune’s orbit, this celestial body was at one time a satellite of Neptune., just as the moon is from the earth; However, the deviation in its speed distanced it from what is now considered the farthest planet from the sun. Fortunately for Pluto, this theory was discarded in the 1970s, and it managed to maintain its range for a few more years.

However, investigations against Pluto and hypotheses of errors in its classification did not stop, and it was not until 2003 that the kick was given to find the beginning of the end of this story.

Just four years into the new millennium, a professor at Caltech, Mike Brown, discovered very close to the orbit of Neptune another dwarf planet that was, in fact, slightly larger than Pluto, which he named Eris. This characteristic, in addition to the fact that this new body and Pluto will not be the only ones of its kind floating in space, This was what gave scientists the last argument for believing that the “ninth planet of the solar system” should not be considered as such.

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For this reason, Brown has been described as “The Man Who Killed Pluto”, because it was his discovery that ended up sinking him into a category “Dwarf Planet Trans-Neptune of the Solar System”.

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