Pluto loses planet status
Well, first it was a planet, then it wasn't. Is this the last word? Stay tuned.
Telegraph | News | Pluto loses planet status
Pluto has lost its status as the ninth planet of the solar system after scientists from around the world redefined it as a "dwarf planet".
The decision to strip Pluto of its planet status was made at an assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The change leaves just eight fully-fledged planets in the solar system.
"The eight planets are Mercury, Earth, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune," said the IAU resolution, passed after lively debate in a raised hands vote.
Pluto's status had been contested for many years by astronomers who said that its tiny size and eccentric orbit precluded it from joining the other acknowledged planets.
Pluto was discovered on February 18, 1930, by an American astronomer, Clyde Tombaugh.
Named after the god of the underworld in classical mythology, it orbits the Sun at an average distance of 3,670,050,000 miles, taking 247.9 Earth years to complete one circuit.