News of the WeekPlanetary Science

Pluto: The Planet That Never Was

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Science  08 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5399, pp. 157
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5399.157

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Nearly 70 years ago, Pluto became the ninth member of the sun's family of planets, but now it's on the verge of being cast out of that exclusive clan. The International Astronomical Union is collecting votes on how to reclassify the icy body: as the first (and largest) of the so-called trans-Neptunian objects, or as the 10,000th entry in the growing list of minor bodies orbiting the sun. In either case, Pluto may officially lose its planetary status, leaving the solar system with only eight planets.