Pluto is a dwarf planet located in the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system beyond Neptune that is populated by small, icy celestial bodies. It was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh and was originally classified as the ninth planet in the solar system. However, in 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the organization responsible for naming and defining celestial bodies, reclassified Pluto as a “dwarf planet.”
The criteria for something being classified as a planet are defined by the IAU. According to the IAU’s definition, a planet is a celestial body that orbits the Sun, is round (due to its own gravity), and has cleared its orbit of other objects. This means that a planet must be large enough to have its own gravity, which causes it to become spherical in shape. It must also have cleared any other objects out of its orbit, meaning it is the dominant object in its orbit and there are no other celestial bodies of similar size nearby.
Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet because it does not meet the criteria for being a planet. While it orbits the Sun and is round, it has not cleared its orbit of other objects. There are many other objects in the Kuiper Belt that are similar in size to Pluto, so Pluto has not been able to clear its orbit of these objects.
There are currently eight planets in the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. In addition to Pluto, there are several other dwarf planets in the solar system, including Eris, Makemake, and Haumea.
It is important to note that the classification of celestial bodies is constantly evolving as we learn more about the universe. The IAU periodically reviews and updates its definitions and criteria, so it is possible that the classification of Pluto and other celestial bodies could change in the future. However, for now, Pluto is classified as a dwarf planet.
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