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Wonky orbit and size see Pluto redefined

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Wonky orbit and size see Pluto redefined


Name the 9th planet from the sun. Members of the general public who said “Pluto” will have to adjust to a new status for the orbiting object. Pluto has been demoted. After much debate, the International Astronomical Union, meeting in Prague, has decided it no longer makes the grade.

Yellow-carded for its small size – smaller than several of the Solar System’s moons – it is now to be considered as part of a category of “dwarf planets”. “We consider Pluto and other trans-Neptunian objects to be in a special class, of which Pluto was the first discovered,” said Catherine Cesarsky, incoming IAU president, holding up a soft toy of the Walt Disney dog character named Pluto, even though the Greco-Roman God of the underworld was the original inspiration. Pluto is, nevertheless, expected to get its first visit from Earth in July 2015, when the New Horizons spacecraft flies past, 5.9 billion kilometres from the sun.

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