The New Horizons mission would forever change the way we think about this little world. But in the same year that New Horizons was launched, the International Astronomical Union voted to reclassify Pluto as a dwarf planet. What exactly prompted this demotion of Pluto?
When Pluto was discovered in 1930, it was immediately accepted as the ninth planet. Seventy-six years later, the International Astronomical Union decided that Pluto should no longer be considered a planet, and reclassified it as a “dwarf planet.” What motivated this reclassification? And how exactly is a planet defined? Regardless of how we choose to classify it, Pluto is a wonderful creation and one that does not fit the secular narrative. The discovery and early investigation of this dwarf planet is a fascinating part of history.