Astrophysics (Index)About

dwarf planet

(round like a planet, only smaller)

The term dwarf planet was coined to apply to solar system objects that are like planets but smaller. Planets and dwarf planets are massive enough to settle into a sphere, but a "full/true/official" planet (per IAU resolution in 2006) is also massive enough to clear out a lane through which it orbits (a criteria termed clearing the neighborhood). Dwarf planet is a subtype of minor planet, the latter being any solar system object larger than a meteoroid that is not a comet, moon, or "full" planet.

The term dwarf planet was coined for Pluto and similar objects after multiple similar objects became known. The other known examples are Ceres, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris. Other known, but poorly-resolved bodies may fit the description and there may be more as yet unseen. Pluto, Huama, and Eris have moons, Dysnomia being Eris's moon.


(minor planets,solar system,object type)
Further reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_planet

Referenced by pages:
Ceres
Earth
facula
Haumea
International Astronomical Union (IAU)
minor planet
planet
Pluto
plutoid
planetary mass object (PMO)
solar system
SSSB (SB)
Titius-Bode law
Triton

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