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At The Adler | What Is A Planet?

Since it's discovery, and 10 years after its reclassification to dwarf planet, Pluto is still plagued by its lack of true planet status. This begs the question, if Pluto isn't a planet, then what is? What made the International Astronomical Union reclassify Pluto in 2006? On March 19th, the Adler Planetarium will be opening their newest temporary exhibition, What Is a Planet?, which explores the answers to these very questions.

The accepted definition of a planet has changed quite a bit over the past 500 years. At various moments the term has been used to describe the Sun, the Moon, and asteroids. And would you believe that Earth - the most familiar planet of all - hasn't always been considered a planet?!

So how do you define a planet? As scientists learn more about how the Universe works, they make discoveries that don't fit neatly into old ways of thinking. In What is a Planet?, visitors will discover that new approaches and perspectives in science can change how we define worlds near and far.

What To Expect:

  • Witness how astronomers and the media reacted to Pluto's demotion in 2006.
  • Learn what the current definition of a planet is and hear what Adler astronomers think of this current definition.
  • Voice your opinion about Pluto alongside skeptics and space enthusiasts through an interactive voting poll in real-time.
  • Explore artifacts from the Adler collections that illustrate the ever-evolving definition of a planet.

This temporary exhibition, which is included with general admission, will be open to the public from March 19, 2016 through January 8, 2017.


Here's what Science At NASA says about the question!


Comments welcome.


Posted on March 8, 2016

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