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Should Charon be considered a dwarf planet?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/30/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 332 times Debate No: 85803
Debate Rounds (1)
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This debate is about whether Charon (Currently considered a moon of Pluto) should be considered a dwarf planet in its own right. A dwarf planet is defined as three requirements, 1: The celestial body in question must orbit around the sun, 2: The celestial body has strong enough gravity to pull the celestial body into a spherical shape and 3: The celestial body has "Cleared the neighborhood" of other objects of significant size. While Charon is currently considered a moon of Pluto, I believe it should be considered a dwarf planet in its own right because the Pluto-Charon system should be considered a binary (Dwarf) planet system, a binary system is defined as when the Barycenter (Center of mass between two bodies orbiting each other) lies outside of both bodies. A binary system can (In this case) only be between two planets or dwarf planets, not between a dwarf planet (Pluto) and a moon (Charon). Therefore due to these definitions, the Pluto-Charon system should be considered a binary dwarf planet system, and the importance of this is that Charon should be reclassified as a Dwarf planet, not a Moon of Pluto.


The IAU defines a dwarf planet as, " object in orbit around the Sun that is large enough (massive enough) to have its own gravity pull itself into a round (or nearly round) shape. Generally, a dwarf planet is smaller than Mercury. A dwarf planet may also orbit in a zone that has many other objects in it. For example, an orbit within the asteroid belt is in a zone with lots of other objects."[1]

While the IAU has not decided upon a suitable definition for a natural satellite, Wikipedia defines it as, "...a celestial body that orbits another celestial body of greater mass (e.g., a planet, star, or dwarf planet), which is called its primary."[2]

The term "binary system", at least in the context of planets, is not recognized by the IAU, so any classification of Pluto and Charon as a binary system is irrelevant.[3]

By all relevant definitions, Charon is not a dwarf planet, because Charon orbits around Pluto and not the Sun (directly). It is a natural satellite, however, for that very reason, in addition to the reason that Pluto has a greater mass than Charon. Even though the barycenter of a Pluto-Charon system is outside Pluto, Charon still has an orbit around Pluto, making it satisfy the definition of a natural satellite.


Debate Round No. 1
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Posted by Grandzam 8 months ago
I am quite hesitant to vote on this, because as a one round debate Con has an advantage in that Con can refute points made by Pro, and Pro can do nothing to argue against the rebuttals. However, I will do so anyway.
Posted by whiteflame 8 months ago
>Reported vote: traylzac// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Con. Reasons for voting decision: hi

[*Reason for removal*] Not an RFD, just a greeting.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Grandzam 8 months ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro provides no backing for their arguments, and Con has refuted these arguments by showing that no backing exists with Con's definitions. If Pro had provided backing in the first place, I might have needed to consider which argument was more convincing but the arguments goes to Con due to the unsupported statements. Sources also goes to Con because only Con used sources, which also made his argument far more credible than his opponent's.