Saturday, August 24, 2019 marked an unpleasant anniversary for planetary scientists. It's been 13 years until the day when Pluto's official definition changed – what was once numbered among the planets of the solar system is now just a humble dwarf planet.
But not everyone agrees with the decision of the International Astronomical Union – and now NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein has added his voice to the chorus, claiming support for Pluto's membership of the planetary club of the solar system.
"You just know, in my view, Pluto is a planet," he said during a tour of the Aerospace Engineering Building at the University of Colorado Boulder.
"You can write that the NASA Administrator has declared Pluto again on the planet. I stick to it, this is the way I learned it and committed to it."
My favorite soundbite for the day, which is probably will not get to television. It came from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein. As a Pluto supporter, I really appreciated that. : doesn't change anything officially and his reasoning is a little convincing ̵1; learning something in one way does not mean it should remain so, thank you geocentricity. This is a frivolous remark and it is good.
But it just so happens that planetary scientists have been hitting the drum on planet Pluto for years and their causes are a little more thought out. In fact, much more.
When IAU removed Pluto from the list of nine planets in the solar system in August 2006, the move was a consequence of its official definitions of planets and dwarf planets.
Previously, there were no official definitions of those objects that created problems when astronomer Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology and his colleagues discovered an object that looked larger than Pluto. (Later, this object was declared a dwarf planet and was named after Eris, the Greek goddess of discord and strife.)
The difference between a planet and a dwarf planet that changed Pluto's status? Pluto – hanging in the asteroid field of the Kuiper Belt – has not cleared the "quarters around its orbit" of other rocks.
This has helped to solve the perceived problem of other Pluto-sized objects of equal size, of which there are potentially hundreds. If Pluto was in the planet club, what kept the rest of the reef?
Planetary scientist Alan Stern, head of NASA's New Horizon mission, voices his disappointment at the decision to deny Pluto as it is made.
"My conclusion is that the IAU definition is not only impracticable and impracticable but so scientifically flawed and internally contradictory that it cannot be categorically protected by claims of scientific negligence," squalor "and categorical classification. ", he wrote in September 2006.
" The New Horizons project, as a growing number of the public and many, if not thousands, of professional research astronomers and planetary scientists, will not recognize the IAU planet's resolution as a definition of August 24, 2006 "
So he didn't do it, in fact, earlier this year he was discussing Ron Eckers of the UIA, defending the status of the planet of Pluto.
Not only 424 out of about 9,000 members The UIA voted in favor of the resolution, nor did hundreds of planetary scientists immediately petition it.
Plus, Pluto has its multi-layered atmosphere, organic compounds, weather, moons.
There are landscapes – rocky mountain ranges and wide plains. There are avalanches, maybe plutokesses, maybe even liquid oceans. And that the definition based on orbital clearance has no historical merit.
And even if it does, it can be argued that other planets have not cleared their quarters – there are many asteroids hanging both around the orbits of Earth and Jupiter (though not as many as the belt of
Last year, scientists argued that a planet must be designated as an object that has become large enough to become a sphere.
"This turns out to be an important moment in the evolution of a planetary body. because obviously when that happens, it initiates active geology in the body, "the planet explained
UIA has shown no signs of retreat so far, but neither are Pluto's supporters. Maybe Bridenstein, who joined the Pluto team, will resume the duel. country, we are ready to welcome our hundreds of new planetary friends.