Till 2006 Pluto was considered to be the ninth planet of the solar system. But today Pluto is known as a dwarf planet. And decision for tomorrow is still pending.
A dwarf planet orbits the sun just like other planets, but it is smaller. A dwarf planet is so small it cannot clear other objects out of its path.
Recently In a DEBATE held a couple of weeks back on the varying definitions about what does and does not qualify as a planet at “The Harvard-Smithsonian Center” for Astrophysics. There was a voting done at the end of the debate to conclude to some point which has reignited discussion over the definitions and may have opened to door to Pluto’s victorious return to its status as a planet in our solar system.
We’ve just reprinted all of the text books to exclude Pluto and now it seems we need to do a re-spin of the printing to include it once again depending on the final conclusions which is still pending.
Pluto is only 1,400 miles (2,300 kilometers) wide. That’s about half the width of the United States. Pluto is slightly smaller than Earth’s moon. It takes Pluto 248 years to go around the sun. One day on Pluto is about 6 1/2 days on Earth.
How it started?
Back in 2005, a scientist named Mike Brown discovered a celestial body that was slightly larger than Pluto. He named it Xena and called it the 10th planet. But this led to the discussions that weather Pluto to be called a planet or not.
Now You see, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has three conditions for a celestial body to be recognized as a planet.
According to the IAU website, a celestial body qualifies as a planet if and only if it:
- is in orbit around the Sun
- has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and
- has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.
It’s this third condition that causes the confusion and ultimately led to the decision that Pluto is no more a planet but a dwarf planet to be called.
What it means for a celestial body to “clear its neighborhood” is that it is distinctly larger in size than other items around it.
Interesting Space Exploration :- In 2006, NASA launched the first mission to Pluto. It is called New Horizons. New Horizons is a spacecraft that is going to the edge of the solar system. The spacecraft is about the size of a piano. It will take nine years to reach Pluto. In 2015, New Horizons will arrive at Pluto. The mission will spend more than five months studying Pluto and its moons. New Horizons will then study other objects in the Kuiper Belt.
Traveling to Pluto using the minimum amount of fuel would take longer than 30 years. NASA’s Voyager mission demonstrated the advantages of using the gravity of the giant planets, particularly Jupiter, to “boost” a spacecraft and reduce travel times to the outer solar system. New Horizons, using a flyby of Jupiter in February 2007, will arrive at Pluto in 2015. The journey takes 9½ years.
New Horizons has cameras that will take pictures of Pluto. The spacecraft also has science tools to gather information about Pluto. These pictures and information will help scientists learn more about the dwarf planet.
Studying places like Pluto may help scientists learn how planets form.
Since its discovery in 1930, Pluto has been a bit of a puzzle:
- It’s smaller than any other planet – even smaller than the Earth’s moon.
- It’s dense and rocky, like the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars). However, its nearest neighbors are the gaseousJovian planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune). For this reason, many scientists believe that Pluto originated elsewhere in space and got caught in the Sun’s gravity. Some astronomers once theorized that Pluto used to be one of Neptune’s moons.
- Pluto’s orbit is erratic. The planets in our solar system all orbit the Sun in a relatively flat plane. Pluto, however, orbits the sun at a 17-degree angle to this plane. In addition, its orbit is exceptionally elliptical and crosses Neptune’s orbit.
What happens if we do let Pluto back in? Well, there’s a chance that other distant trans-Neptunian objects – such as Triton or Eris or 50000 Quaoar or 90377 Sedna – could also qualify for official planetary status.
“We might need help from aliens now over this debate but they seems to be satisfied with the fact that Pluto is a part of universe. Or maybe someone from Pluto visits earth to speak up for itself and its home planet.
Whatever be the issue is, we hope it resolves soon. Since many textbooks are waiting to get its Data updated based on the result of this debate”
Happy sailing !!
Latest posts by Anurag (see all)
- Off-road and On-road Tata Hexa Experience for the car lovers - December 29, 2016
- Friends who define the true equation of Friendship - October 7, 2016
- Freecharge, the Best Digital Wallet in the Digital Ecosystem - September 28, 2016