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Pluto - Not a Planet Anymore



Pluto - Not a Planet Anymore
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.54

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    non-circular, rock-like, second-largest, trans-Neptunian, third-largest, circular, renamed, science, fourth-largest, orbit, comet, highly, definition, contrast, gravity, discover
     content words:    International Astronomical Union, Kuiper Belt


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Pluto - Not a Planet Anymore
By Cindy Grigg
  

1     Science changes as we learn more and more new things. Pluto was discovered in 1930. At that time, there wasn't really a definition for what a planet was. We didn't know as much about space as we do now. In the summer of 2006, scientists of the IAU, or the International Astronomical Union, met to discuss the naming of new objects in the solar system. At this time, the members agreed to remove Pluto from the list of planets. It is now known as a "dwarf planet." A dwarf planet is not a planet. Here are the reasons why.
 
2     There are three main things that make Pluto different from the other planets in our solar system. First, Pluto is less than half the size of any other planet. It is very different from the other gas giants, the nearest planets to it. The first four planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) are rocky planets with solid surfaces. The next four planets are gas giants. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are huge planets with small rocky, metal cores surrounded by huge balls of gas. These four planets do not have a solid surface. Saturn is the second-largest planet. Uranus is the third-largest. Neptune is the fourth-largest planet. Then comes little Pluto. It is about one-sixth the size of Earth and about 1/100 the size of Jupiter. It is made of rock and ice. Pluto is like a comet, not a gas giant.

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