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World|science|September 11, 2018 / 02:26 PM
Pluto is most definitely a planet and should never have been downgraded, new study says

AKIPRESS.COM - That seems to be the aim of a new study that urges Pluto be returned to its former planetary glory, CNN reports.

The research, published in the scientific journal Icarus, says Pluto never should have been downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet 12 years ago. Why? Because, the authors say, the rationale behind the decision wasn't valid.

Let's back up a bit, to 2006. That's when the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the group that gets to name planetary bodies, established updated rules for what is and what isn't a planet.

The IAU defined a planet as a celestial body that orbits the sun, is round or nearly round and "clears the neighborhood" around its orbit.

It's that last part that's currently in dispute. The IAU said Pluto was just too small to clear the neighborhood, or knock other space rocks out of its path as it orbits the sun. And so, the astronomical union demoted Pluto to dwarf planet status.

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