plutino

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plutino

[plü′tē·nō]
(astronomy)
A member of the Kuiper Belt that, like Pluto, is protected from close encounters with Neptune because its period is 3/2 Neptune's period.
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It may never qualify for full planet status in the eyes of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), because it's smaller than Pluto, and the IAU has scandalously down-graded Pluto to a mere plutino.
The expected size of the debris matches estimates for that of the Plutinos. The evidence provides "strong clues, but not a clincher case," he says.
If some Plutinos are indeed relatives of Pluto and Charon, the population would qualify as the first family of objects to be recognized in the Kuiper belt.
Although scientists calculate that thousands of Plutinos exist, they've detected only about 50 of them.
Pluto has the same relationship with Neptune, prompting Jewitt to dub the bodies "Plutinos" and lending support to the notion that Pluto itself originated in the Kuiper belt.
Pluto does cross Neptune's orbit, but like other "plutinos" it is stuck in a stable resonance with Neptune.