It all began in 1930 when Clyde Tombaugh discovered number nine (Cowen, par. 5). The definition of a planet before the IAU, International Aeronautical Union, conference in 2006, was, "a cloud of dust and gas that, at a high enough temperature is able to fuse hydrogen nuclei into helium nuclei inside its core” (Long, par. 8). Essentially, this means planets are capable to live a full life course: forming by burning to dying by burning. As Pluto aged, it could not withstand the test of time due to the technological advances in the scientific world.
In the 1930s, technology was limited. We invented refrigerators, radios, and washing machines in the ‘20s. It was unheard of in the 30’s to have technology that could decipher Pluto’s geological features. As the years went on, technology improved. Telescopes became more powerful allowing us to see further into space and our solar system (“Forbidden Planet,” par. 3). We were able to discover more about our planets, but the focus was Pluto. By this time, around the late 1900s, Pluto became a topic of interest. Debates all over the world began, which threw NASA into a dangerous situation. They had to decide if Pluto was a planet. Technology was able to uncover the real truth. Pluto was just flotsam in the celestial sea (“Forbidden Planet,” par. 3).
With technological improvements, Pluto held increasingly less status of a planet. For seventy-five years we called Pluto part of our solar system (Cowen, par. 4). On its seventy-sixth birthday the IAU relegated Pluto to the status of a dwarf planet (Long, par. 7). After fiery debates, explosive arguments, and crucial questions, the IAU announced they would be holding a conference.In 2006, over 2500 scientists attended the confer...
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...ise definition (Long, par. 11).
The opposing voters, pro-planet Pluto, offered a new definition of star hood, “any object massive enough to possess the capability to fuse during its lifetime ought to be considered a star” (Long, par. 9). Anti-planet Pluto voters rebuked this statement. “Pluto should not be a planet,” Michael Bakich said. He continued, “Pluto last reached perihelion (closest point to the Sun) September 5, 1989. Since then, it has put more than 100 million miles between itself and our daytime star as it heads for aphelion (farthest point from the Sun) in August 2113” (Bakich, par. 3). As the distance between the sun and Pluto increases, its gravitational pull lessens becoming more of a flying object rather than a planet. Several members of the IAU are currently still in distress over this decision and are ardently working to change Pluto’s status.
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