PSA: Pluto Is a Planet

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PSA: Pluto is once again recognized as a planet!

When I was learning the planets, my teachers taught me to remember the names and order of the planets by the very useful MVEMJSUNP—My Very Eager Mother Just Served US Nine Pizzas.

Sadly, in 2006, the International Astronomical Union made the decision to demote Pluto from planet status to dwarf status, something 6th grade Sarah thought was unjust and flat out wrong. Growing up, it seemed to be a fundamental truth that there were 9 planets. Now, the acronym had been shortened to MVEMJSUN, and everyone was left wondering, “served us nine WHAT?”

Thankfully, last week at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, three experts debated the issue of whether or not Pluto should be recognized as a planet in front of an audience of teachers, scientists, and the general public.  The debate brought up things such as the IAU’s criteria for planet status, of which Pluto meets two out of the three, as well as the idea of the word “planet” being a cultural definition that changes over time, and which, historically Pluto has been accepted as.

In the end, the audience voted for the reinstatement of Pluto as a planet by a landslide amount! So although Pluto may not be officially reinstated as a planet yet, Pluto is culturally acknowledged as a planet, which is arguably even more important!

 

 

Read more about the debate here!

 

What do you think? Should Pluto be a planet?

 

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    Sarah

    Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology), Class of 2015, Learn more on her profile here!

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