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8 intriguing images of Pluto and beyond

Sept. 12, 2011, 11:07 a.m.
pluto and charon

Photo: Dr. R. Albrecht, ESA/ESO Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility; NASA

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Pluto and Charon

Pluto (seen here by the Hubble Space Telescope with its moon Charon) is the unloved outsider in our family of planets. Once firmly established as the ninth planet orbiting the sun, it was downgraded in 2006 and reclaimed as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Pluto is just another object in the Kuiper Belt, a region extending from Neptune filled with small, icy objects orbiting the sun. Pluto and its mysterious neighbors potentially hold some of the most exciting astronomical discoveries of the next century. (Text: Katherine Butler)