Now Reading:

Just what constitutes a planet?

world news

Just what constitutes a planet?


That is the question being pondered by experts at a major conference and for Pluto their answer could have devastating consequences. That is because the farthest planet from Earth in our solar system risks being downgraded if the International Astronomers Union decides it has not got what it takes to fit the definition. Debate has raged for decades after Pluto was found to be only one four-hundredths of the mass of the earth. The impact of any decision to lower its status, however, would be massive. Text books, for example, would be rendered out of date.

For some of those gathering in Prague, like Dr John Mather, whatever will be, will be….
“Well, I always loved Pluto being a planet. But I know it was formed differently from the others. So, if the IAU says it is different, then it is different. We will see.”

Doubts over Pluto’s planetary credentials have intensified. It is now known that over a dozen celestial bodies in our solar system are larger in size. Despite this, some believe nothing should change. Any demotion would disappoint children, they say, and throw our understanding of the universe into chaos.

More about:

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

Next Article