Pluto's supporters to battle for its planetary status

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London, June 23 : Supporters of the planetary status of Pluto have expressed their displeasure about the planet being demoted to the status of a "plutoid", and are marshalling support for a major scientific meeting devoted to debating its place in the solar system.

International Astronomical Union's (IAU) controversial decision to designate Pluto and its cousin Eris as "plutoids" irked the defenders of "planet Pluto", who have not been appeased by its latest name change, according to a report in New Scientist.

"It sounds like 'haemorrhoids'," said Alan Stern, who is chief scientist for NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto.

According to Stern, planetary scientists have been left out of the IAU's decision-making.

Now, these scientists will get the chance to present arguments for and against at "The Great Planet Debate" in August at Laurel, Maryland, US.

But the IAU won't be obliged to accept their conclusions.

"The IAU has done what it could to come forward with a working definition," said IAU general secretary Karel van der Hucht. "In the meantime, it's a free world, anybody may organise meetings on the subject," he added.

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