How did astronomers reach a consensus for a new definition of “planet”?
The world’s astronomers, under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union, deliberated on a new definition for the word planet for nearly two years. The results of these deliberations were channelled to a Planet Definition Committee and ultimately proposed to the IAU General Assembly. Continued evolution of the definition through debate and further discussion allowed a final consensus and vote. Q: What new terms are used in the official IAU definition? A: There are three new terms adopted as official definitions by the IAU. The terms are: planet, dwarf planet and small Solar System body. Q: In plain language, what is the new definition of planet? A: A planet is an object in orbit around the Sun that is large enough (massive enough) to have its self-gravity pull itself into a round (or near-spherical) shape. In addition a planet orbits in a clear path around the Sun. If any object ventures near the orbit of a planet, it will either collide with the planet, and thereby be accre