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Astronomy and Astrophysics

A chance for the Pluto-huggers? Hopkins scientist leads effort to restore underdog's planetary stature

Ejected a decade ago from its place among the planets, the distant, icy world of Pluto still has its admirers.

The runt of the litter and ninth in line from the sun, Pluto was — for 75 years after its discovery — considered a peer of hefty Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. And then one day it wasn't.

"People like to root for the underdog," said Kirby Runyon, a Johns Hopkins University scientist behind a renewed effort to restore Pluto's lost title.

Runyon and some leading planetary scientists have launched what might be the best shot in years at returning the icy rock now known as a "dwarf planet" to what they consider its rightful orbital place. And...

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