New research suggest Pluto should be reclassified as a planet

New study from the University of Central Florida in Orlando indicates that the rationale for why Pluto lost its planet designation is invalid.

A global organization of astronomers known as the International Astronomical Union adopted a definition of a planet in 2006 that demanded it "clear" its orbit, or to put it another way, be the object with the strongest gravitational pull inside its orbit.

Pluto was no longer considered a planet because of how Neptune's gravity affects it, as well as the fact that Pluto orbits objects in the Kuiper belt and frozen gases.However, planetary scientist Philip Metzger from UCF's Florida Space Institute stated that this threshold for classifying planets is not supported in the academic literature in a new study that was published online on Wednesday in the journal Icarus.

Metzger, the study's primary author, searched scientific literature from the previous 200 years and discovered just one piece—from 1802—that utilized the clearing-orbit criteria to categorize planets. However, this piece was founded on logic that has since been disproved.

He said that since Galileo, moons like Jupiter's Europa and Saturn's Titan have frequently been referred to be planets by planetary scientists.

"The IAU definition would say that the fundamental object of planetary science, the planet, is supposed to be defined on the basis of a concept that nobody uses in their research," stated Metzger. The second-most intricate and fascinating planet in our solar system would also be excluded."We now have a list of well over 100 recent examples of planetary scientists using the word planet in a way that violates the IAU definition, but they are doing it because it's functionally useful," the scientist claimed.The IAU definition, according to Metzger, is "sloppy." "They failed to clarify what they meant by clearing their orbit. If you take that literally, there are no planets since none of them are able to complete their orbits.

According to the planetary scientist, the early 1950s saw the publication of a study by Gerard Kuiper that established a difference between planets and other celestial bodies, such as asteroids, depending on how they were produced.

According to Metzger, even this justification is no longer taken into consideration when determining whether a celestial body is a planet.

The literature review revealed that clearing orbit is not a standard that is used to distinguish asteroids from planets, as the IAU claimed when creating the 2006 definition of planets, according to study co-author Kirby Runyon of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. As a result, clearing orbit is not a way to tell apart asteroids from planets, according to Runyon.

Runyon asserted, "We demonstrated that this is a bogus historical assertion. Therefore, he concluded, "it is fallacious to apply the same reasoning to Pluto."According to Metzger, a planet should be defined based on its inherent characteristics rather than those that are subject to change, such as the dynamics of an orbit.According to Metzger, dynamics are not stable; they are always changing. Therefore, they are only the occupation of a body during the time in question and not the essential description of a body.

Instead, Metzger suggests categorizing planets according to whether or not they are massive enough to have a spherical form due to gravity.

And that's not simply a make-believe definition, according to Metzger. It turns out that this is a significant turning point in the history of a planetary body since it seems to start active geology when it occurs.

For instance, he pointed out that Pluto possesses a subsurface ocean, a layered atmosphere, organic molecules, signs of old lakes, and many moons.

More vibrant and lively than Mars, according to Metzger. The Earth is the only planet with a more intricate geology.