Pluto: The Downgraded Planet Essay

1379 words - 6 pages

Introduction
Pluto will always be considered a planet to me despite what NASA and the IAU has to say about it. As a kid, I was always fascinated by Pluto; since it was the smallest of the 9 planets. The main reason was because it is the smallest of the planets in our solar system and was the last of the 9 planets to be discovered. In 2006, when I learned that Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), I was disappointed because it no longer met the newly developed criteria for it to be categorized as a planet. To this day, I may not know much about this planet, yet I still find it fascinating.
In this paper, I am going to briefly detail the information about Pluto, why it is no longer classified as a planet, and compare it to the other 8 planets. I'm going to write a brief time line of Pluto from the moment that it was discovered to the moment that it was reclassified as a dwarf planet. I will also discuss any planned explorations that NASA has planned/mentioned for Pluto, compare the Terrestrial and Jovian planets and discuss whether or not Pluto meets the criteria for either category. Terrestrial planets are those that have a solid planetary surface composed of rock-like materials and metals and Jovian planets are those which are gaseous and do not have and solid matter.
Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, who was an amateur astronomer in Illinois. He was previously hired by the Lowell Observatory which is located in Arizona. The Lowell observatory was named and founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell who started the search for Pluto before his death. Tombaugh successfully finished the search that Lowell started, but a mere 14 years later.
Background/History
Pluto was discovered in February of 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, who was an amateur astronomer in Illinois. He discovered Pluto by using a reflecting telescope that he made. The Lowell observatory was named and founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell who started the search for Pluto/Planet X before his death. He was later hired by the Lowell Observatory which is located in Flagstaff, Arizona; due to it's high altitude. Tombaugh successfully finished the search that Lowell started, but a mere 14 years after Lowell died. A month after Tombaugh discovered Planet X/Pluto, the observatory released the news to the public.
Percival Lowell became obsessed with outer space and envisioned the Earth becoming impoverished and drought and causing the human race to become extinct due to the popularity of War of the Worlds, or the invasion of Earth by Martians. Afterward, he dedicated his life to the search for an astronomical object called Planet X, which in a sense was causing trouble for Neptune. He essentially began the search for Pluto in 1906 by the usage of a camera with an aperture of 13 cm. He then used a 23cm telescope for about 2 years, from 1914 to 1916, which enabled him to get a better view of the sky around Pluto/Planet X.
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