Is it time to restore Pluto back to the planet club?
A new effort to restore Pluto to the so-called Planet club is underway.
As reported at astronomy.com
“Rather than focusing on “external” factors such as whether a body has cleared its orbit (the portion of the IAU criteria that Pluto failed in 2006), the new geophysical definition instead brings to the forefront the intrinsic properties of the body itself. It takes into account the fact that many of the solar system’s worlds are physically complex and geologically active, from Ceres’ ice volcano to Pluto’s slushy heart.”
In essence, rather than focusing on the orbit, this proposed new definition suggests we focus on the object itself. Questions like. Is it round? Is is complex on the surface? Is it active? Unfortunately this approach may suffer the same fate as many others, in that this new definition is too open. It would result in over 100 new ‘planets’ in our solar system alone. Even our Moon would now be a planet. As such, maybe this new definition is doomed to failure.
So, adopt this new approach of Pluto-as-a-planet, at the cost of labeling 100 other objects as planets? Or leave things as they are?