Will Pluto be promoted to the status of a planet again ?

By Ritu Singh | Updated: Oct 03, 2014, 19:38 PM IST
Will Pluto be promoted to the status of a planet again ?

Zee Media Bureau/Ritu Singh

London: Pluto may get re-instated as a planet again! After much debate Harvard-Smithsonian Center recently came to a conclusion that it was indeed a planet.

Eight years back, Pluto was relegated to the status of dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union and was stripped off its status as the 9th planet in our solar system.

In 2006, International Astronomical Union had said that the "dwarf planet" was too small to have the required gravitational punch, with a radius of about 750 miles, and circumference of about 4,500 miles, which made it even smaller than the moon.

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center recently conducted a debate on 'What is a planet' letting the audience vote, who wanted Pluto back.

Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, argued that the criteria for planethood was sun-centric, excluding planets beyond our solar system, or so-called "exoplanets."

Astronomer Owen Gingerich pointed out that the word “planet” “is a culturally defined word that has changed its meaning over the ages,” and that Pluto definitely meets the criterion set out by fellow debater Dr. Dimitar Sasselov as ‘the smallest spherical lump of matter that formed around stars or stellar remnants.”