The question posed as “what is a planet?” is often heard in school and we know for certain that we have at some point been supplied with the accurate answer. However little facts such as this are often taken for granted. We know that we live in a planet called Earth. We know that there exist other planets in our universe and we can even name each one of them. But we hardly find an interest to really delve into the answer of “what is a planet?” Well, this is exactly what we are going to do today.
Probing a planet by definition and history:
A planet is an object that moves across the background of the fixed stars. This term came from the Greek word which stands for “wanderer”. For ages, the definition of the word planet has been filled with ambiguity as this has been used to mean many different things and at most times quite simultaneously. This term has been therefore twisted and blurred to have included and excluded a few other objects in the universe. However, through years of evolution, it has been clearly understood and defined arriving at a single and concrete definition.
Through years of knowledge enhancement, astronomers and scientists have been working to discover more possible planets than the already eight planets that we have recognized. The criterion set is based on dynamics that comprise an astronomical body like the science of motions and forces and the like. A recent discovery of a trans-Neptunian object, Eris, a body larger than the smallest and then-accepted planet Pluto is only one good example of the scientists work on the definition and classification of other possible planets.
In the vastness of the universe, it will be no wonder if there should be more other heavenly objects up for discovery and scrutiny. Until then, we are settled on the limit of the definition of a planet and the fact that there are certain differences in each individual planet’s characteristics. Planets vary on their physical properties and even on the number of moons that they have orbiting around them.
Learning about the planet that we live in alongside the other planets in our universe can be mentally enticing and challenging. It gives you a fun and better image of the space above you. If you have not been so interested in this topic when you were in school, perhaps its high time you take interest for you to be able to appreciate living in it more. What we have been given is the privilege of knowing more about the planet we are living in and the wonder of the possibility of discovering more to make this world bigger and better.