In a public debate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, an audience decided that Pluto IS in fact a planet!
Three experts presented their case for or against Pluto's status as a planet after a several year long debate, and let an audience vote on which was the most convincing.
The winning case came from Dimitar Sasselov, the director of Harvard’s planetary program,
the Origins Of Life Initiative. Sasselov argued that a planet is the smallest spherical lump of matter that formed around stars or stellar remnants, and Pluto is a planet.
The two arguments that lost the vote were from historian Owen Gingerich and Gareth Williams of the Minor Planets Center of the International Astronomical Union, the group that redefined Pluto's planetary status. Gingerich argued that the definition of a planet is more of a cultural, fluid definition that changes over time, and Williams stated that Pluto has not met one of the requirements to be classified as a planet, which was to clear its path in its orbit around the sun.
The debate started in 2006 when the IAU redefined planets and left Pluto out in the stardust as a dwarf planet. Groups have still argued that Pluto is a planet and has demanded the reinstatement of it into the Solar System.
As a full supporter of Pluto's planetary status, I'm glad the public is backing me up!
Watch the entire debate here:
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