Zasca scientist Trump's man at NASA for Pluto

"Just so you know, from my point of view Pluto is a planet," he said a few weeks ago Jim Bridenstine, the first politician without scientific background appointed as head of NASA for Donald Trump, during a press conference at the stunned look of journalists. "You can write that the space agency administrator has stated that Pluto is once again a planet. I cling to this because that is how I learned it and I am committed to it, "he added in a tone between ironic and mocking. These words, far from being unnoticed, have revived the debate among scientists, astro-amateurs and nostalgic about Pluto's status within the Solar System.

But the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the highest authority in what to 'space policy'he means, he prefers to settle the debate from its root. In 2006, the General Assembly of the entity agreed to a new planet definition and, after this decision, Pluto was relegated to the category of dwarf planet, along with other similar celestial bodies discovered in the Solar System. "The International Astronomical Union has not changed its position and, as far as we know, you do not intend to review it, so no official change in the state of Pluto as a dwarf planet is expected, "says Fernando Comerón, spokesman for the entity and astronomer of the European Southern Observatory (THAT) to THE NEWSPAPER. "While Mr. Bridenstine's recent statements have raised some controversy given his current professional assignment, this It has no practical relevance for the astronomical community and, in addition, the argument presented by Mr. Bridenstine certainly does not raise a revision of Pluto's classification based on any new scientific finding, "he adds.

The complexity of the universe

The current classification of celestial bodies was debated more than a decade ago between planetary experts and, as is often the case in this type of debate, an absolute consensus has never been achieved in the scientific community. And, as Comerón explains, labeling Pluto as a 'dwarf planet' better reflects the Modern knowledge of the Solar System since in the last decades an increasing number of bodies with masses and orbits comparable to those of this star have been discovered. Hence the scientific authorities in space matters emphasize the need for abide by the current definition which defines more precisely what it is and what is not a planet in scientific terms.

"It is understandable that there is some resistance in a popular culture that had already incorporated Pluto as the ninth known planet in our Solar System. But scientifically the change simply reflects that our planetary system is significantly more complex than previously thought in 1930, when Pluto was discovered, "Eaton ditch." Our current knowledge of Pluto shows that it is a fascinating world, with a rich and dynamic geology and an amazing atmosphere. Maintain its classification as a dwarf planet it doesn't make it less interesting"reflects the astronomer.

The eternal planetary debate

After the controversy raised by the comments of Bridenstine, the most critical scientists with this categorization has taken the opportunity to reopen the discussion. Even the astrophysicist and rocker of 'Queen' Brian May He has manifested himself to 'give his support to Pluto'. "The 2019 season of" is officially inauguratedPluto it's a planet "", ironized a few days ago Alex Riveiro, scientific disseminator on astronomy issues and author of 'Astrobitacora'. "This issue is periodically resurfacing every time someone with a certain impact, from inside or outside the scientific community, makes a comment about it. But let's not fool ourselves, it is a false debate. The scientific authorities take this issue for granted and nothing suggests that the discussion will be reopened at a technical level, "explains Riveiro.

The decision, he explains, is not arbitrary. The discovery of celestial bodies such as Eris, Makemake, Haumea and Ceres puts Pluto in check as it shows that there are many other stars like him which, in turn, do not just fit within the agreed definition of planet. Hence, if this were included again in the solar system maps, it would also be necessary to add at least a dozen more of similar. "And yes, there is also a part of this debate that it has to do with the 'darling' of all those who studied Pluto as a planet and now have a hard time accepting that the Solar System is no longer as they knew it, "Riveiro reflects.

. (tagsToTranslate) Astronomy (t) Science (t) Planets (t) Pluto

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