Pluto Status – not a planet – Well studied decision or a Mistake

Pluto Status – not a planet – Well studied decision or a Mistake

An intense debate is happening among international astronomical scientist upon the Pluto status. What is Pluto Status – not a planet – Well studied decision or a Mistake!. The debate is lead by Dr. Philip Metzger, a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, United States of America.


In the year 2006, Pluto was declared as a dwarf planet and its status as 9th planet of the solar system was revoked in the 26th general assembly of International Astronomical Union (IAU). IAU is a global group of esteemed astronomical scientist/experts. To categorize an astronomical body into a solar planet IAU has defined three criterion:

  • It must orbit around the Sun.
  • The astronomical body must be big enough to be rounded by its own gravity or it can be defined as the body own gravity pull, the shape defined by hydrostatic equilibrium.
  • The planet must be the largest gravitational force in its orbit.

Main reasons for the revocation of  planet status was

” A planet is required to “clear” its orbit, or in other words, be the largest gravitational force in its orbit.”

As Neptune’s gravity was influencing the Pluto orbit. Further, Pluto shares its orbit with frozen gases and objects in the Kuiper belt.

Now why the debate …

As per Dr. Philip & his team, research literature does not support the rejection of Pluto’s planet status. Dr. Philip & his team was only able to find a paper of 1802, which gives a sloppy definition for classifying a planet on the basis of clearing orbit criterion. The paper does not specify, what is the definition of clearing orbit.

What is way forward

Pluto is a complex planet of our solar system. Whatever its classification be, it presents a big window for the researchers to explore and unearth the mystery behind the thick ice-covered surface.