Planet X





Planet X
Is Pluto really a planet? Researchers have been trying to determine whether Pluto is really big enough to be a planet. Over the last few years, the gathered information on Pluto and the discovery of an increasing number of other objects in the outer solar system have been discussed within a group of astronomers (called minor-planets). The planet Pluto is not given the respect of other planets and some have designation to be changed to ‘minor planet’. Astronomer Brian Marsden of Harvard Smithsonian Center said if Pluto were discovered seventy years ago, it would be considered a minor planet number. A minor planet is a term used to describe asteroids and most astronomers agree that Pluto is no asteroid.
Marsden said it’s not a demotion for Pluto to be referred to as the 10,000th minor planet, it is an honor.
Some astronomers do not agree with the Brian Marsden theory. Pluto deserves to be considered more than just a minor planet. Most astronomers would probably consider stripping Pluto of is status akin to stripping [the U.S. state of] Connecticut or Vermont of statehood because Texas and Alaska later joined. It was estimated that Pluto contained mass of eleven Earth but dropped rapidly over time. This is what is giving the astronomers a second opinion about being a planet.
Pluto is about 1,500 miles in diameter, larger than the largest asteroid. It is known to have density of two grams per cubic centimeter, so is estimated to be sixty percent rock and forty percent ices of frozen nitrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, and water. Pluto is tilted 122.5 degrees on its axis. Because of the shape of Pluto’s orbit, it actually slips inside of Neptune’s orbit once every 248 Earth years for a period of twenty years. Pluto, the planet farthest from the sun, is smaller than Earth’s moon. And while other ‘major planets’ have roughly circular orbits, Pluto carves out a sweeping ellipse that frequently takes it closer than Neptune to the sun. Pluto has one natural satellite, Charon, which is half the size of Pluto. Because Pluto and Charon are comparable is size, many scientists consider them to be a double plant, but many scientists don’t consider Pluto a planet at all. Studies conducted using a spectroscope have detected methane frost on Pluto and water frost on Charon. Like Triton, Neptune’s satellite, Pluto has an atmosphere of nitrogen and methane. Pluto’s atmosphere appears to extend out to include Charon, which suggests that they may share an atmosphere. Through the Hubble Space Telescope, Charon appears to be bluer in color than Pluto. During the time in its orbit when Pluto is farthest from the Sun, its atmosphere condenses and falls to the surface as frost.
Nicholson calls the Pluto debate a “’Tempest in a teapot’ with little effect on the course of solar-system research”. Nicholson also states no matter what we call it, people are not going to stop thinking about Pluto as a member of the Kuiper Belt. All the current discussions about the origin of Pluto starts premise that Pluto is a very big Kuiper Belt object. Transition Neptunian Objects is a new class A’Hearn wants to create for ice balls that orbit beyond Neptune and Pluto would be Transition Neptunian Object number 1. Does this mean Pluto has been demoted? The answer is no. Pluto will have dual classification as a planet and a Transition Neptunian Object, at least for the time being.





Bibliography: