Now, for those in the dark, the International Astronomical Union has decided Pluto is no longer a planet, due to a slight technicality: Pluto’s orbit crosses Neptune’s, but not in any real and useful way. But thanks to the loosely defined definition of having to clear the neighborhood around it (which, in my opinion, it has), it has been demoted to minor planet status.
In my most unhumble opinion, this is total bullshit. Not only have they denied Pluto it’s planetship that it has had since 1930 (not to mention all the educational texts we have to rip up now, the ones we’ve had since the Reagen era), but they have denied the only double planet system we know of.
Double planet, you ask? Charon isn’t technically moon of Pluto, they both oribt around each other as they orbit around the Sun, so it is a double planet system; but under the new clarification of the rules, its a simple “dwarf” double planet system. In other words, they’re two large round asteroids that wobble around each other.
I dunno, but I think the IAU screwed up on this one. If Pluto crosses Neptune’s orbit, then Neptune crosses Pluto’s orbit, which means Neptune is no longer a planet either. You can’t fail one planet and allow the other. The only way the IAU can even be possibly right is to give a minimum diameter or some other useful measurement, ie, anything smaller than Mercury or 1/3rd of the Earth’s diameter.
In addition to all of this, the IAU failed to pass an amendment to the proposal that turned Pluto into a dwarf planet that would have called this new classification of dwarf planet Trans-Neptunian Objects by a specific name: Plutonians.