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Pluto may be a real planet after all, researchers say

N SPACE - JULY 14: In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Pluto nearly fills the frame in this image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, taken on July 13, 2015, when the spacecraft was 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface. This is the last and most detailed image sent to Earth before the spacecraft's closest approach to Pluto. New Horizons spacecraft is nearing its July 14 fly-by when it will close to a distance of about 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers). The 1,050-pound piano sized probe, which was launched January 19, 2006 aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, is traveling 30,800 mph as it approaches. (Photo by NASA/APL/SwRI via Getty Images)

Pluto may still be considered a planet. Researchers from the University of Central Florida say the qualifications for being a planet are not supported in prior research.

The International Astronomical Union defines a planet as something that “clears” its own orbit —┬ámeaning it’s “the largest gravitational force in its orbit.”

In a study published in the “Icarus” journal, researchers from UCF say this requirement was published once before in 1802,┬ábut the standard has since been disproven.

Researchers point out no planet is able to clear its orbit.

The study recommends defining a planet as something that is large enough to become “spherical in shape.”

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