JPL.NASA.GOV: Feature Stories – Honey, I Shrunk the Solar System
If you woke up Thursday morning and sensed something was different about the world around you, you’re absolutely right. Pluto is no longer a planet.
As expected the 9th planet Pluto, is no longer considered a planet, but more “the mother of all Kuiper belt objects”, or more precisely Pluto is now considered a “dwarf planet”.
I must admit that I sort of fail to see the importance of this decision, it’s more like “splitting words”. “Planet” is nothing but a word that means “wanderer”, refering to the fact that planets move across the sky unlike stars (well I know that they do, but slowly, so within this definition stars could also be consideres “planets”, so it is actually good to have a somewhat clearer definiton…).
The problem is that within the old definition, the number of objects to consider for planetary status is likely to grow, with the improved observation technology, and the scientific community would potentially be locked in mindless debates, since the discovery and classification of a planet would be significant.
Well…The science books need to be rewritten, or maybe not! Wikipedia has already been updated with detailed information on this subject, and Pluto has already been reclassified in the article on Planets.