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Make up your mind, science! Pluto to ‘become planet again’

03 October 2014 [16:35] - TODAY.AZ

Pluto could be on the brink on joining the solar system’s exclusive club of proper planets again after eight bitter years of being demoted to the status of ‘dwarf planet’.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) demoted Pluto in 2006 after the discovery of another dwarf planet, Eris, which was almost exactly the same size as Pluto.

Ever since, Pluto has enjoyed grim, second-class status and the solar system has officially been only eight planets.

The public were outraged – as were some scientists.

However, this week the Harvard Smithsonian Center held a debate, and let the audience vote – with the (slightly unscientific) result being a vote for Pluto to rejoin the ‘proper planets’ club.

Dimetar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, said the current definition of what is a planet – which Pluto failed due to its low gravity failing to clear an area around it – is insufficient.

Pluto is smaller than our Moon with a circumference of around 4,500 miles.

The new definition proposed by Sasselov is that planets are simply ‘the smallest spherical lump of matter that formed around stars’ – which would pave the way for Pluto to be promoted again.

The vote is not legally binding, but it could provide a ‘way back’ for 



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