Johns Hopkins University Scientist Argue That Pluto Is A PlanetBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
A scientist from Johns Hopkins University has argued that Pluto is still a planet. This comes after it was dropped to a non-planet status in 2006.
Apparently, Kirby Runyon believes that Pluto, along with over 100 celestial bodies, including the Earth and Jupiter's moons, can be called planets. He argued that the claims against Pluto made no sense.
Runyon, who is finishing his doctorate this spring in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences' Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, will be presenting the case for Pluto next week at a scientific conference which will be held in Texas. He said that Pluto is basically being a planet, Phys.org reported.
He has led a group of six authors from five institutions in creating a definition and justification on how Pluto and other celestial bodies should be called planets. They will present their findings on Mar. 21 at the conference sponsored by the Lunar and Planetary Institute.
S. Alan Stern and Kelsi Singer of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, Tod Lauer of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, Will Grundy of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and Michael Summers of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia are the other authors of the study. All of them are science team members on the New Horizons mission to Pluto, which is operated by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for NASA.
The team argued that a planet should be defined by a celestial body's intrinsic qualities and not on external factors such as its orbit or the objects surrounding it. They defined a planet as a "a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion." Moreover, they claimed that it has enough gravitational heft to maintain a roundish shape.
Tech Times noted that the team's definition differed from the one approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). This is because it did not reference to the celestial body's surroundings.