Pluto: The Downgraded Planet

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Pluto will always be considered a planet to me despite what NASA and the IAU has to say about it. As a kid, I was always fascinated by Pluto; since it was the smallest of the 9 planets. The main reason was because it is the smallest of the planets in our solar system and was the last of the 9 planets to be discovered. In 2006, when I learned that Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), I was disappointed because it no longer met the newly developed criteria for it to be categorized as a planet. To this day, I may not know much about this planet, yet I still find it fascinating.

In this paper, I am going to briefly detail the information about Pluto, why it is no longer classified as a planet, and compare it to the other 8 planets. I'm going to write a brief time line of Pluto from the moment that it was discovered to the moment that it was reclassified as a dwarf planet. I will also discuss any planned explorations that NASA has planned/mentioned for Pluto, compare the Terrestrial and Jovian planets and discuss whether or not Pluto meets the criteria for either category. Terrestrial planets are those that have a solid planetary surface composed of rock-like materials and metals and Jovian planets are those which are gaseous and do not have and solid matter.

Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, who was an amateur astronomer in Illinois. He was previously hired by the Lowell Observatory which is located in Arizona. The Lowell observatory was named and founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell who started the search for Pluto before his death. Tombaugh successfully finished the search that Lowell started, but a mere 14 years later.


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