The latter finding may deprive Pluto title planet

17.03.2004

17.03.2004


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Astronomers re-thinking on the classification of the planets. The impetus for this process has given the recent discovery of a celestial object, which many consider the tenth planet of the Solar System. The Working Group of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is going to make their own decision as to whether this object, called Sedna, to be called a planet.

One of the main criteria, experts say IAU, considered to be the minimum size of the planet. Outcome of the review would be a "demotion" of Pluto, which some astronomers previously considered too small to be called a planet.

"If we start this work will no doubt be called Pluto no longer a planet — said Professor Ivan Williams. — However, there is almost an age-old culture, in which Pluto is a planet. So IAU establish a working group that will try to determine undefined."

A new celestial object called Sedna (yet unofficially) after the Eskimo goddess of the sea. This is the latest in a series of heavenly bodies, approaching the size of Pluto, which opened recently in the outer reaches of the solar system. Sedna's size, as it should be 1/4 the size of Pluto.

Many astronomers, including Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology, who led the group of scientists who discovered Sedna recognize that to a full-fledged planet, it does not hold, and prefer to call it a planetoid that is a cross between a planet and an asteroid. However, as with other objects found in the last few months and inhabit the Kuiper belt — a strip of space wilds beyond the inner solar system, Sedna, which is more typical asteroid. Some believe that the opening in the area of the new celestial body, next to which Pluto is a dwarf seems — it's only a matter of time.

One way to solve this problem — declassification of Pluto. In 1930, when it was opened, it was considered much more than it was in reality, and then the scientists questions arose. Nevertheless, the astronomical community still is not ready to come to terms with the whole idea of a "loss" of Pluto. In 1999, the last time a similar offer last expressed on a serious level, it caused a storm, reports BBC.

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