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If you’re someone who is still upset about Pluto’s planetary demotion from more than a decade ago, then an upcoming debate about the definition of the word “planet” may be of interest to you.
One of Pluto’s biggest defenders, Alan Stern, will be debating Ron Ekers, who used to be the president of the International Astronomical Union — the global organization responsible for redefining the term “planet.” It was ultimately the IAU’s decision to designate Pluto and other small worlds like it as “dwarf planets,” a title distinct from the term “planet.” The change triggered a lot of angst and upheaval over the loss of Pluto’s planet status. Perhaps the biggest critic of the new definition has been Stern, the principal investigator on NASA’s New Horizons mission which sent a spacecraft to Pluto for the first time in July of 2015.
PROCESS - FOR - REDEFINING - PLANET - WAS
“THE PROCESS FOR REDEFINING PLANET WAS DEEPLY FLAWED.”
“The process for redefining planet was deeply flawed and widely criticized even by those who accepted the outcome,” Stern wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post, along with New Horizons scientist David Grinspoon.
Refresher - Planet - Debate - Swing - Astronomers
For those who need a refresher, the “planet” debate really got into full swing in 2005 when astronomers discovered another tiny world about the same size as Pluto at the fringes of the Solar System. Known today as Eris, the world was thought to be the 10th undiscovered planet at the time. But as astronomers started to discover more and more worlds like Pluto and Eris in the distant Solar System, experts started to wonder if a change to the planet definition was in order.
Then in 2006, the IAU held...
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Drove my Ford to the fjord, but the fjord was dry. . .