“Why does it matter if Pluto is a planet or a dwarf planet? Because for me it just makes it more confusing in our solar system. I know that some things in space are planets and some are stars and some are other names like moons or comets. Dwarf planet is a more different name and I think it just makes it more confusing.” Timmy, 11, Kitchener, Ont.
In 1801, astronomers found Ceres, originally categorized as a “planet.” Astronomers assessed that it was much smaller than the different known planets. Immediately, many tinier objects were found on orbits extremely close to Ceres, and these tiny bodies were categorized as “asteroids.”
A similar procedure of discovery and re-categorization happened for tiny bodies further out in the solar system.
Pluto was found in 1930 and was named the ninth planet in our solar system for several decades. But astronomers soon realized that Pluto was unique from the other eight planets; and it dwelled on a tilted orbit, and its way was way smaller than the other planets.
Solar systems shape from big clouds of dust and gas slump into disks around young stars; however, astronomers still understand exactly how that process works.
Astronomers have presently measured more than 5,000 exoplanets in different solar systems. We won’t be competent to measure dwarf planets there for an extremely long time, but the ones we’ve discovered in our solar system can tell us how planets shape everywhere.