So maybe 'killed' is a bit dramatic. Pluto still exists, just not how we used to know it. Demoted is a better word. And August 24th 2006 marks that momentous day. The day that Pluto lost all it's rights as a planet and became a dwarf planet.

the awesome card i made

the awesome card i made

Before I continue I would like to stress that absolutely nothing about Pluto has changed! It has not left the solar system, or gotten smaller, or anything else. It has simply been re-evaluated as a planet.

So what makes a planet a dwarf planet you ask? Well let me tell you. Science time.

So firstly it's not a planet (obvi) and not a satellite (meaning it doesn't orbit another planet). It has to be massive enough to be controlled by gravitation. A dwarf planet orbits the sun but has not cleared its orbital region of other objects.

There are currently about 9 definite dwarf planets, a few more almost certain and a bunch of 'probablies'. There's an estimate of potentially over 100 dwarf planets yet to be discovered inside our solar system. Unfortunately for Pluto, it has not cleared it's own orbit, thus losing it's planethood. And don't misunderstand, nobody just like changed their mind or made a discovery about Pluto. Dwarf planet is simply a newer term coined to encompass the increase in discoveries of celestial bodies that weren't quite planets.

If you ain't a planet ya ain't a scout dammit!

If you ain't a planet ya ain't a scout dammit!

Discovering the dwarf planet Eris made the decision for scientists of the IAU (International Astronomical Union) that a new classification had to be made. Eris is actually slightly larger and quite a bit more massive than Pluto.

I don't think this will work guys.

I don't think this will work guys.

So unfortunately no matter how much people protest the fact of Pluto's demotion, it's probs not going to change. That isn't how science works my friends. Here's a fun little new(ish) bit of info about Pluto that might make you feel better if it was your favorite planet: Underneath the 120 miles of ice their may actually be a liquid ocean heated by radiation. How sweet would that be? We should be able to find out for sure in 2015 when the unmanned craft 'New Horizons' reaches Pluto. But if you're still a little butthurt about Pluto here are some hilariously adorable notes from kids asking for Pluto's status back.

plutoLetter

pluto-5

pluto

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So, what do you think?