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The identifying of a massive, 745-mile-diameter object at the far reaches of our solar system has reopened a debate regarding the planetary status of that ninth pile from the sun, Pluto.
National Geographic reports that the newly-noticed space item is named Quaoar (pronounced “KWAH-o-ar”) and is located in the Kuiper belt, a celestial district 4 billion miles from Earth and relatively close to Pluto. Like the Disney dog-named sphere, Quaoar is composed of rock and ice. Also, its orbit is similar to Pluto’s but differs from the eight other planets. “Pluto is the largest known Kuiper belt object,” a University of Hawaii astronomer says. “Some people think of it as a planet as well. That’s fine, of course, but the reasons for doing so are historical, or sociological at best.”