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Friday, August 25, 2006

Pluto Loses Its Status

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The International Astronomical Union votes to redefine the term "planet", demoting Pluto to the status of a "dwarf planet", and leaving the solar system with eight planets. A "true" planet within our solar system is defined as a celestial body that is in orbit around the Sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit. Those bodies which fulfill the first two conditions but not the third are dwarf planets if they are not satellites.


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