In a Category All Their Own: Dwarf Planets

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Since ancient times, the universe had captivated people’s imagination and curiosity. With the limitation on technology, early sky watchers were only capable of classifying objects they observed as either a star or a planet. During the twentieth century, with advancement in telescopes to see further into space with more accurate details, scientists were able to find numerous stars and planet like objects within the solar system. Scientists had no trouble classifying objects such as Uranus and Neptune as planets. However, the real trouble came when they discovered a planetary object called Ceres. Objects like Ceres and Pluto behaved similarly to regular planets. Because of the limitations on the technology at the time, it was very difficult to observe precise details about these objects. As a result, they had a tough problem whether to classify it as a planet. During the 1990’s, scientists discovered more Pluto like objects in the Kuiper Belt. In the last decade, with new larger and powerful telescopes, scientists had more evidence to reclassify the planet like objects into their own separate category. Dwarf planets had the potential to become planets like the eight planets we know today, however, because of unfortunate events during the early formation of the solar system, objects like Pluto and Ceres were moved into a new category called dwarf planets. A dwarf planet is a planetary object that was neither a planet nor a satellite as defined by the International Astronomical Union or the IAU. Most of the known dwarf planets in the solar system are located past Neptune in the Kuiper Belt region with the exception of Ceres. The first five recognized were Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea. The International Astronomical Union... ... middle of paper ... ...r objects around it which caused it to become a dwarf. The limited technology of early human history never allowed astronomers to get a good glimpse of our Solar System. This results in misleading observation which causes misclassification of bodies in the sky. This happened to many bodies in our early history. Two well known examples were Pluto and Ceres. The misclassification only went unaccounted for until technology started to advance and astronomers were finding more and more of these smaller planets. A little more than seven years before, we finally gave them a new name and category called dwarf planets and a way to define planets. As new technology is created, astronomers will be capable of finding new objects further in the Kuiper Belt region with better details and results. Eventually astronomers will find new dwarf planets to add to the present day list.

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