The International Black Hole Registry has declared that Pluto is a planet once again. The decision puts an end to a debate that started in the early 1990s with the discovery of other Pluto-sized objects in the Kuiper belt and gained public notoriety in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union (IUA) declared that Pluto was not a planet.
Only 424 astronomers voted at the critical 2006 IUA meeting, a fraction of the 10,000 professional astronomers around the globe. But, ultimately, those numbers pale in comparison to the millions of Pluto fans around the world.
“Give the people what they want,’” said Hans Wilhelm Rossi, chief scientist for the International Black Hole Registery. “The universe is not like a box of crayons where one comes with the words ‘Olive Green’ on the side and another is labeled ‘Atomic Tangerine.’ There are no labels in nature except what we create. And we are labeling Pluto a planet.”
The word planet comes from the Greek term asters planetai, meaning “wandering stars,” a misnomer that somehow has gone unchallenged by the IUA.
“It certainly seems like the IUA is more interested in picking on Pluto than in scientific precision,” said Rossi.
The new requirements to be a planet as accepted by the International Black Hole Registry are that the object: