Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Dwarf Planet and Planet

planetsDwarf Planet vs Planet

It has been stated that there will never be a definition for the term ‘planet’ that will be acceptable to all scientists, but this article will provide some information about the differences between planets and dwarf planets. It is not truly known how they were formed, but they will always be a source for conversation and speculation.


A planet is defined as a rocky, or gaseous, spherical, celestial body, that orbits the sun, but does not emit its own light. A planet is also considered to be a celestial body that has sufficient mass, therefore, it has its own gravity that overcomes unyielding body forces, and is formed into a hydrostatic equilibrium, or round, shape. It is neither a star nor a satellite of another planet.

A dwarf planet is also a spherical body orbiting the sun; however, to be a dwarf planet, it must be smaller than 3031 miles in diameter, but heavy enough to bear a resemblance to a planet. In addition, a dwarf planet is not big enough to have a distinct orbital path, nor does it orbit another object, like a moon.

Origination of the terms

Knowledge of planets was common in ancient history, and known to most civilizations; however, the term ‘planet’ goes back to the ancient Greeks. During these times, the ancient Greeks believed the Earth was the center of the universe, and everything else orbited the Earth. Planets were thought to be large enough to be seen by the naked eye. In ancient times, planets were seen as a divine emissary of the gods, and they had ties to science, religion, and mythology.

There were other celestial bodies that did not follow the definition of planet, sun, moon, or asteroid; therefore, the term Dwarf planet, was defined in August of 2006, by the International Astronomical Union. Dwarf planets became one of three categories of planets that orbit the sun.

Names of Dwarf planets and planets

In the early Greek times, there were five bodies that were commonly identified as planets orbiting the Earth, including Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. With the invention of telescopes, the planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto have been added to this early Greek list.

During medieval and renaissance times, astronomers determined that there were seven planets, the original five, plus the sun and the moon. This was accepted for a number of centuries before scientists determined that the Earth and all these planets orbited a common sun, instead of the Earth.

Currently there are five planets that fit into this category of dwarf planets, and include Pluto, Ceres, Makemake, Haumea, and Eris. There are also four major asteroids that were also defined in the 19th and 20th centuries as dwarf planets.


1. A dwarf planet is smaller than 3031 miles in diameter, while planet is larger.

2. These are one of the three categories of planets that orbit around the sun.

3. Currently, only 5 planets – Pluto, Ceres, Makemake, Haumea, and Eris – are known as dwarf planets, while there are 9 main planets, which includes the earth.

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  1. it’s clear.Thanks

  2. I have never seen “smaller than 3031 miles in diameter” used to define a dwarf planet. I have seen the “orbit the sun” and “hydrostatic equilibrium (round)” requirements. The one I think you are missing has something to do with “clearing the neighborhood of its orbit.” This is the one that confuses me the most and led to the demotion of Pluto.

    Also in the summary:
    “while there are 9 main planets, which includes the earth.”
    There are 8 main planets since Pluto got demoted.

  3. What do dwarf planets and main planets have in common?

  4. If Pluto is dwarf planet , that leaves only 8 main planets .

  5. Does anyone believe that the attempt to make Ceres and Eris the 10th and 11th planets led to the removal of Pluto asdiscovery? Does the removal of these three celestial forces from the planetary classification system have any bearing on the discovery of the now dwarf planets of Ceres and Eris?

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