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Can Pluto become a planet again? Understand the scientific debate

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*This text was written by a columnist from TecMundo; learn more at the end.

More than 15 years after the official definition of the IAU (International Astronomical Union) categorizing what planets are, many people still resent the fact that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. Therefore, when a new proposal was suggested about the classification of planets, many people were excited by the possibility of a historical reparation.

First, let’s remember which objects fit the current classification, defined in 2006. To be a planet an object must:

  1. orbit a star
  2. Achieve hydrostatic equilibrium, i.e. be round
  3. To be the gravitationally dominant object of its orbit.

In the case of Pluto, the criterion not met is number 3, due to the presence of Charon. Charon until then was considered a natural satellite of Pluto. However, the mass ratio indicates that, instead of Charon orbiting Pluto, the two objects orbit a common center of mass. This indicates that Pluto could not be considered the dominant object in the orbit, but rather that it shared the position with Charon. This fact changed the classification of the system to a dual dwarf planet. And a lot of people didn’t like that.

Dual dwarf planet system Pluto and CharonDual dwarf planet system Pluto and CharonSource: APOD

Now, the 2006 IAU definition is not by chance. As technology advanced, it became increasingly possible to detect smaller objects within the Solar System, and the number of such objects was constantly growing. This fact called for an official classification of planet and other categories of objects.

THE final definition It did not come easily and involved many proposals, debates, criticisms and arguments. But finally, on August 24, 2006, an official proposal was reached and, as an immediate consequence, Pluto would no longer be classified as a planet. To assuage the resentment, a new category of dwarf planets was also created: plutoids, where Pluto is prototype. These objects are beyond Neptune and have enough mass to achieve a quasi-spherical shape. However, like Pluto, they have not cleared their orbit. The creation of the category reaffirms Pluto’s importance to astronomy. Some objects classified as plutoid dwarf planets are Eris, Makemake and Haumea and the list is expected to continue growing.

Largest objects other than Neptune, the 4 largest are classified as dwarf planets and the remaining 6 are candidates.Largest objects other than Neptune, the 4 largest are classified as dwarf planets and the remaining 6 are candidates.Source: Wikipedia

Even with the new category, 15 years later the spirits have not calmed down and a new study published made a bold proposal: to abolish the classification of natural satellites. With the proposal, the Solar System would have more than 150 planets. Scientists involved want to revisit the Copernican Revolution definition of a planet, and argue that many natural satellites and planets share the same intrinsic geophysical properties.

The discussion can be extended to planets outside the Solar System. Like added Jean-Luc Margot, astronomer and professor at the University of California, the current definition also plays a role in classifying exoplanets, as it would currently be impossible to understand whether an exoplanet is geologically active or not.

With tempers running high, many wonder if this new study is enough to hit the hammer in classifying planets. The answer is noto the. It is an article published in a scientific journal and alone does not represent an official classification.

However, the definition of the category “planet” is not written in stone and can, in the future, be changed. Of course, for that to happen, argumentation and debate are necessary. Finally, the official final word of the representative body of astronomy in the world, that is, the IAU.

It is important to note that the official definition of a category does not follow opinion. Who doesn’t remember when the NASA administrator stated that believed that Pluto would always be a planet? It is worth remembering that Jim Bridenstine is not an astronomer and his opinions do not define NASA’s guidelines. And, more than that, it is worth remembering that NASA alone does not dictate official astronomy categorizations.

Pluto's atmosphere.Pluto’s atmosphere.Source: NASA/JHU-APL/SRI

With the new images from the New Horizons spacecraft, Pluto has once again conquered our hearts with his heart. But regardless of the current taxonomy, the actual configuration of the Solar System is unchanged and the sky remains free for appreciation.

Camila de Sa Freitas, columnist for TecMundo, holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in astronomy. She is currently a PhD student at the European Southern Observatory (Germany). Self-styled Galaxy Coroner, investigates evolutionary scenarios for galaxies and possible changes in the manufacture of stars. He is present on social media as @astronomacamila.

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Software

This Telegram feature allows you to store unlimited files online

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Highly appreciated by Internet users for the transfer of unlimited files, the Telegram application receives a new very practical service. Developers have used an end-to-end encrypted messaging app API to create an unlimited cloud storage service. Good news for people who want to keep documents and files for free.

Telegram
Credits 123rf

A cloud storage service on Telegram

TeleDrive developers are innovating with a very interesting new service. They relied on the API available on Telegram to develop a free cloud storage system. You can then use it to store files much like on Google One or OneDrive. To use it, simply link your Telegram account and associate it with TeleDrive to start downloads.

Read also : 7 Telegram Features That Might Make You Ditch WhatsApp

However, note that this service has some limitations. In free mode, the user is limited to 1.5 GB bandwidth and daily 2 GB downloads. However, it is possible to remove this restriction by subscribing to a $10/year subscription with TeleDrive. You will be able to download large volumes of files no matter the time of day.

The peculiarities of Telegram’s cloud storage

Telegram is an end-to-end encrypted instant messaging application. In view of this, the files stored on TeleDrive are of a confidential nature. That said, note that it is possible to make them public and share it by message to your contacts on Telegram. You can generate a URL that anyone on the internet can easily access.

The use of this cloud storage service, however, poses a big concern. TeleDrive has not established any collaboration with the administration that governs the operation of Telegram. At any time, the latter could therefore decide to eliminate this service. It just needs to limit or break its API from its cloud storage. It is for this reason that specialists recommend using it as a secondary backup solution.

SOURCE: LIFEHACKER

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Electric Cars

The Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup truck will have a “little brother” in miniature form

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While Elon Musk and Tesla continue to push back the start of production of the Cybertruck electric pickup truck to ever later dates, information has appeared on the network about the possible release of another version of this car.

The Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup truck will have a

Initially, the rather well-known Indian analyst Trip Chowdhry from Global Equities Research, who specializes, among other things, in Tesla, shared the information.

According to the source, Tesla will present two versions of the Cybertruck at a special event in March 2022.

Moreover, Chaudhry notes that both versions will receive “significant changes” compared to the Cybertruck originally shown. Chaudhry did not go into details of the changes, but noted that the second version of the Cybertruck will be about 15-20 percent smaller than the first. The bodies of both cars will reportedly be built by the same Texas-based Steel Dynamics company, which operates about 100 miles from Tesla’s Texas plant.

Chaudhry expects to hear the first official news on the matter on January 26, when Tesla will report earnings to investors.

Recall that in November 2019, Elon Musk himself said that in the long run it makes sense to add a more miniature Cybertruck to the lineup. Since then, however, he has not further developed the idea publicly.

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Software

WhatsApp will soon be able to draw with different strokes

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The Meta (former Facebook) team of the popular WhatsApp messenger is working on a new interesting feature for users.

WhatsApp will soon be able to draw with different strokes

In the latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android, there are hints of new drawing tools. As the thematic resource WABetaInfo drew attention to, two new pencils have been added to the built-in WhatsApp image editor in addition to the existing pencil. The pencil icons indicate that the new pencils will allow you to draw thicker lines on images or videos.

WhatsApp will soon be able to draw with different strokes

WhatsApp currently allows you to change the color of the pencil, but there is no way to increase or decrease the thickness of the stroke. In addition, WhatsApp has begun work on a blur tool. This should make it easier to share screenshots and photos by allowing you to “blur” the areas you need before sending.

It is not yet clear when the new tools will become publicly available in the stable versions of WhatsApp.

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