PARIS (AP) -- Reports that Pluto is about to lose its status as a planet are false, the International Astronomical Union said Thursday, a pronouncement aimed at calming scientists and stargazers.

The rare announcement came after reports that the planet discovered in 1930 was about to be knocked down to "minor planet" status or -- worse -- a "trans-Neptunian object.""No proposal to change the status of Pluto as the ninth planet in the solar system has been made by any division, commission or working group of the IAU responsible for solar system science," said the Paris-based organization.

The IAU attributed the false reports of Pluto's demise to "incomplete or misleading information." The allegations had set the world of stargazers astir.

In fact, discussions have been under way at the IAU on creating a potential numbering system for "trans-Neptunian objects" and giving Pluto a number.