A group of eminent and active planetary scientists have just published a new peer-reviewed paper documenting how moons and asteroids were routinely referred to as planets from Galileo until 2006 when a very small number of scientists at an International Astronomical Union (IAU) meeting decided arbitrarily that the definition must be changed.
That IAU definition, which required an object to have a solar orbit and the vague ability of the object to clear that orbit, somehow made Pluto a non-planet. It has also never been accepted by planetary scientists, who consider it inconsistent, vague, and useless in their research as well as in teaching students about planetary science. I know this attitude is real because of what planetary scientists have told me consistently in many interviews since 2006.
The new paper appears to be part of a new aggressive campaign by planetary scientists to get that IAU definition dumped, and replace it with the definition planetary scientists have been using forever, which is that if the object is large enough for gravity to shape it into a spherical shape, it is a planet. This is still the definition they routinely use when discussing large moons like the Moon or the large Galilean moons of Jupiter or the larger moons of Saturn or Pluto itself.
It also appears, based on information at the link, that this campaign is beginning to make headway. To that I say, Hallelajuh!
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