Why Pluto Is No Longer Recognized As A Planet?

Why Pluto Is No Longer Recognized As A Planet?

PlutoPluto is the second most massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System (after Eris) and the tenth most massive body observed directly orbiting the Sun. Originally classified as ninth planet the Sun, Pluto was re-categorized due to recent discoveries and is now considered the largest member of the Kuiper belt dwarf planets .Pluto is composed primarily of rock and ice and is relatively small . It has an eccentric and highly inclined orbit that takes it from 4.4–7.4 billion km from the Sun. This causes Pluto to periodically come closer to the Sun than Neptune.

On Feb 18th 1930 ‘Clyde William Tombaugh’ an American astronomer has discovered Pluto. From its discovery in 1930 until 2006, Pluto was classified as a planet. In the late 1970s, following the discovery of minor planet 2060 Chiron in the outer Solar System and the recognition of Pluto’s relatively low mass, its status as a major planet began to be questioned. In the late 20th and early 21st century, many objects similar to Pluto were discovered in the outer Solar System, notably the scattered disc object Eris in 2005, which is 27% more massive than Pluto.

On August 24, 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) defined what it means to be a “planet” within the Solar System. This definition excluded Pluto as a planet and added it as a member of the new category “dwarf planet” along with Eris and Ceres. After the reclassification, Pluto was added to the list of minor planets and given the number 134340. A number of scientists continue to hold that Pluto should be classified as a planet.

With such a large distance from the Sun, Pluto is incredibly cold. But this temperature can vary enough to change the dwarf planet significantly. At its closest point, it warms up enough so that Pluto’s nitrogen atmosphere sublimates and forms a diffuse cloud around it. As Pluto gets further away from the Sun; however it’s this atmosphere freezes out, and falls to the surface of Pluto like snow.

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