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An 8 Planet Solar System - Pluto a Dwarf Planet:

The IAU has voted today (August 24, 2006) that our Solar System has 8 planets. In addition, the IAU has classed Pluto into a new class of planets called "dwarf planets."

Resolution 5A (GA-XXVI):

(1) A “planet” is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

(2) A “dwarf planet” is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape , (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.

(3) All other objects except satellites orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as “Small Solar-System Bodies”.

Resolution 6A (GA-XXVI):

Pluto is a “dwarf planet” by the above definition and is recognized as the prototype of a new category of trans-Neptunian objects.

The Solar System now contains the eight "classic" planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune as well as the new Dwarf Planets - Ceres, Pluto and 2003 UB313.

New Solar System

What is interesting is that Charon (Pluto's moon - visit previous post) was not specifically named in neither of these definitions, nor was the definition of a double-planet indicated. As it stands, it is assumed Charon is still a moon of Pluto.

Any additional large Kuiper Belt Objects or Trans-Neptunian Objects would be classified as dwarf planets if they meet the dwarf planet criteria listed in Resolution 5A.

Image Credit: The International Astronomical Union/Martin Kornmesser

 

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