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A group of planetary scientists have protested the recent use by some of the term “Planet Nine” for the unknown large planet some believe remains undiscovered in an orbit beyond Pluto.
“We the undersigned wish to remind our colleagues that the IAU planet definition adopted in 2006 has been controversial and is far from universally accepted. Given this, and given the incredible accomplishment of the discovery of Pluto, the harbinger of the solar system’s third zone — the Kuiper Belt — by planetary astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh in 1930, we the undersigned believe the use of the term ‘Planet 9’ for objects beyond Pluto is insensitive to Professor Tombaugh’s legacy.
“We further believe the use of this term should be discontinued in favor of culturally and taxonomically neutral terms for such planets, such as Planet X, Planet Next or Giant Planet Five.”
The planetary scientist community, the people who really should be the ones to determine the proper definition of a planet, has never accepted the IAU planet definition. This protest letter is just more evidence of this fact.