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Intersection: Should Pluto Be A Planet Again?


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Pluto, photographed by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, July 2015

The debate over Pluto’s planethood has been reinvigorated, thanks to a new paper co-authored by a University of Central Florida planetary scientist.

Back in 2006, the International Astronomical Union adopted new classification rules. In order for an object to be considered a planet it must be the largest gravitational force in its orbit. In Pluto’s case, its orbit is influenced by neighboring Neptune, so according to the IAU, what was once our 9th planet is no longer a planet. Instead, Pluto is classified as a dwarf planet.

Phil Metzger co-authored the paper that is re-examining the debate. He is a planetary scientist at the Florida Space Institute at UCF and spoke with 90.7’s space reporter Brendan Byrne about the decision by the IAU, and how why he thinks Pluto should be a planet once again.

You can listen to an extended version of that conversation on our podcast “Are We There Yet?” 


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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

A recent transplant to the Sunshine State, Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of ... Read Full Bio »

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