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Definition of planet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The definition of planet, since the word was coined by the ancient Greeks, has included within its scope a wide range of celestial bodies. Greek astronomers employed the term asters planetoid, "wandering stars", for objects which apparently move over the sky. Over the millennia, the term has included a variety of different objects, from the Sun and the Moon to satellites and asteroids.

By the end of the 19th century the word planet, though it had yet to be defined, had become a working term applied only to a small set of objects in the Solar System. After 1992, however, astronomers began to discover many additional objects beyond the orbit of Neptune, as well as hundreds of objects orbiting other stars. These discoveries not only increased the number of potential planets, but also expanded their variety and peculiarity. Some were nearly large enough to be stars, while others were smaller than Earth's moon. These discoveries challenged long-perceived notions of what a planet could be.

The issue of a clear definition for planet came to a head in 2005 with the discovery of the trans-Neptunian object Eris, a body larger than the smallest then-accepted planet, Pluto. In its 2006 response, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), recognized by astronomers as the world body responsible for resolving issues of nomenclature, released its decision on the matter. This definition, which applies only to the Solar System, states that a planet is a body that orbits the Sun, is massive enough for its own gravity to make it round, and has "cleared its neighborhood" of smaller objects around its orbit. Under this new definition, Pluto and the other trans-Neptunian objects do not qualify as planets. The IAU's decision has not resolved all controversies, and while many scientists have accepted the definition, some in the astronomical community have rejected it outright.

List of planets In the Solar System

 
According to current definitions, there are eight planets in the Solar System:  
   

Inner planets

Outer planets

Mercury

Venus

Earth

Mars

Jupiter

Saturn

Uranus

Neptune

     

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