Why We Excluded Pluto From The Planetary Family Of Our Solar System?
For so long, we considered Pluto as a part of our solar system. Although small, it is spherical in shape, an essential characteristic to be a planet, and it orbits the Sun as well.
It has been over thirteen years since the International Astronomical Union (IAU) demoted Pluto from the family of our Solar System by creating a new definition for planets, in which Pluto doesn’t fit. According to the Union, a celestial body must be spherical in shape, orbits around the Sun, and has its own orbital pathway, which doesn’t intersect with other planets. However, Pluto’s orbit overlaps with Neptune’s for a certain distance.
In 2015, NASA launched a mission, in which the New Horizons space probe flew beyond Pluto to capture close-up shots and to measure the dwarf planet. Through the data, it was revealed that the Pluto is considerably bigger than expected. NASA stated that based on the information gathered by the probe, Pluto and its satellites system was far more complicated than anticipated.
Alan Stern—the planetary scientist and the principal investigator for the NASA’s New Horizons probe—opposed IAU and declared that the union demoted Pluto owing to its extensive distance from the Sun.
On a similar note, astronomers are discovering and examining planets that are not part of our Solar System, known as exoplanets. Research has been published in the Nature journal regarding the discovery of an enormous exoplanet, orbiting around a young star situated around 63.4 light-years away from the Earth.
The star, Beta Pictoris, is nearly 23 million years old. The first planet orbiting that star was discovered in 2008 at ESO (the European Southern Observatory) and named it as Beta Pictoris b.
Later, a team of astronomers discovered the second exoplanet, Beta Pictoris c, orbiting the same star. The exoplanet is around ten times the mass of giant Jupiter and completes one revolution around its star in nearly 1,200 Earth days.