Would Pluto still have been named Pluto if they had known it wasn't a planet?

astronomy & space

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  • 1 month ago

    It /was/ a planet because the word planet had a different meaning back then. In 2006, it's not like they discovered something new about Pluto that made it not a planet -- rather, the current definition was found to be too broad and so was made more specific, which excluded Pluto from the classification.

    To answer your question, I think they would've named it a quasi-deity instead if they had classified it as not quite a planet.

  • Tom
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    At the time it DID fit the Definition of a PLANET------It was only much later that an entire CLASS of "Small planets" were found, Pluto being one of them.  This necessitated REDEFINING what a PLANET was, and Pluto didn't make the grade, in the new definition, being in another class of objects.

  • 1 month ago

    If Clyde Tombaugh wasn't the one that named Pluto then probably not

  • 1 month ago

    The concept of them "knowing" it isn't a planet is a bit weird in this context.  They knew they'd found a large spheroidal object about 40 AU away, which they named, just as they named Ceres, Vesta, Pallas etc.  Bearing in mind that more than a thousand asteroids had been discovered by that point, many of which had also been named, even if they hadn't regarded it as a planet they would've given it a name.  They might not have held a competition to name it though, so maybe they would've called it something else.  But they had no reason to define it as a non-planet at the time.

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  • 1 month ago

    It would have been called Mini-Pluto instead.

  • 1 month ago

    Probably... at the time of it’s discovery, names were usually given to new objects found in orbit about the sun. 

  • 1 month ago

    There were around 30 percents of those Astronomers who  were the committees of The International Astronomical Union  at that time who votes  against in chasing Pluto out of  being the ninth Planet  of our Solar system. So Pluto being called by this name long before by the Astronomers of the ancient time, so it has nothing to do with the votes of the IAU.

  • Elaine
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Since the other planets were named after Roman deities Tombaugh named his newly discovered planet Pluto.  In addition the first two letters are the initials of Percival Lowell who spent his life looking for this planet. 

  • User
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    At the time it was named it WAS a planet.

    If it were not considered a planet at that time then it likely would not have been given the name of a "major Roman deity" and likely would have been given the name of a minor deity instead (as was the case, for example, with the former-asteroid now-dwarf-planet Ceres)

  • 1 month ago

    At the time, the category of "dwarf planet" did not exist. Pluto would have been classified as a "minor planet".

    The protocole for naming minor planets is not the same as the at for "major" planets. It is likely that the name would have been chosen in a different manner, leading to a different result.

    In the case of the "planet" Pluto, the name was chosen in accordance with Greek mythology (as was done for the other planets) AND the idea that the first two letters of Pluto are P and L did have something to do with the choice (Percival Lovell funded the telescope from which the discovery was made).

    In Greek mythology, Pluton was a brother to Zeus (Jupiter) and Poseidon (Neptune), as well as a son of Chronos (Saturn) and grandson of Ouranos (Uranus). As a major planet, the name fits well.

    However, minor planet discoveries were somewhat common back then. As a minor planet, its name would have not been the object of such mythological analysis.

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