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Why Pluto is not a Planet (Essay Sample)


The paper requires the student to explain why pluto was excluded from the list of planets, with evidence from two reliable sources.


Why Pluto is not a Planet
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Why Pluto is not a Planet
The classification of Pluto as a planet has undergone a history of changes. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) resolved to formally define the term planet. What previously described a large object in the outer space was redefined to refer to celestial objects that are large enough to be in orbit around the sun, have adequate mass to maintain a spherical shape, and have cleared the area around their orbits. According to the IAU, Pluto did not meet all the three criteria used to define a planet (Vidmachenko, 2019). Consequently, the Pluto was demoted to a dwarf-planet since it has not cleared all the objects around its path. Overall, while Pluto is large enough to have assumed a spherical shape, it is not huge enough to exert its orbital supremacy and clear all the neighborhood that surround its orbit, implying that it has not met the third requirement of being described as a planet.
Pluto is not classified as a planet since it has not cleared its orbit. To be considered a planet, an object has to have cleared the neighborhood around its orbit (Vidmachenko, 2019). Specifically, as an object moves around the sun, it is likely to collide with other objects it bumps into. Over a period of time, a full-sized planet has finished colliding with everything it is likely to bump into, and has very low chances of hitting other objects while orbiting (Slater, 2017). In all the years Pluto has been in existence, it has not managed to become gravitationally dominant. The implication is that there are still other bodies of comparable size far from its own satellites in its vicinity in space. In other words, Pluto has not emptied its path of other objects. Consequently, Pluto shares its path with plutinos, a Kuiper belt object. The failure of Pluto to satisfy the third criteria classifies it as a dwarf-planet.
Moreover, Charon, one of Pluto’s moons, is approximately half Pluto’s size. The unusually huge size of the moon has made some space scientist to argue that the two should not be classified as a planet and a satellite, but as a dual system. The issue has contributed to the long-standing controversy over whether to classify Pluto as a planet. Slater (2017) argues that the large size of its moon has made Pluto’s orbit to be highly eccentric, implying that it deviates from being a perfect circle. The eccentricity of Pluto’s orbit makes it cross that of Neptune, disqualifying it from being a planet. Not only

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