Word of the day…
Definition: to pluto, as in to demote or devalue someone or something
In other words, Pluto was demoted from a planet to a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO). Instead of actually announcing new planets, such as 2003 UB313 “Eris” as planet 10 (it’s larger than Pluto), they decided to remove Pluto from the list.
I grew up knowing the 9 planets. From Mercury to Pluto, we had 9 planets. Every Solar System chart had Pluto on it. All of my books had Pluto in them. Television had history on Pluto. Why demote it?
For that, we have to look at the new 2006 definition of planet.
1.) The object must orbit the Sun. Check!
2.) The object must have enough gravity to have formed into a sphere…hydrostatic equilibrium. Check!
3.) The object must have cleared foreign objects from around its orbit. Here’s the problem.
With Pluto being in the Kuiper Belt, there are comets, asteroids and other “minor planets.” There is interstellar debris, and its orbit even goes inside of Neptune’s orbit for decades. It acts more like a KBO rather than a planet, but do these changes warrant a demotion? Did Pluto really need to be plutoed? No. It may be a minor planet, but as far as history is concerned, it’s still a planet.
It’s still a planet to me, my family, my friends…and it will be a planet to my son when he learns the Solar System.