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Dwarf Planets

Dwarf planets are what you think they are. They are small rocky body’s that orbit the sun in our solar system. There are 5 officially recognised dwarf planets in the solar system.

Dwarf planets are the same as normal planets, just smaller. There are other differences between planets and dwarf planets, with the main one being that dwarf planets have not cleared other objects in the area that they orbit.

I know, it’s hard enough to understand right, but do not worry about that right now. The list of the 5 dwarfs are below. Starting from the closest one to the sun and then outwards.  

Ceres – Pluto – Haumea – Makemake – Eris

Dwarf-Planets
Ceres is the closest dwarf planet to the sun and lives in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres is also the smallest of the dwarf planets and is the only planet that is not in the Kuiper belt. Ceres is a very rocky planet with mysterious spots found on its surface.

Pluto is the 2nd closest dwarf planet to the sun and lives in the Kuiper belt. Pluto was once a planet and was the 9th planet in the solar system until it was found to be a dwarf planet instead. Pluto is the largest of the dwarf planets and has 5 moons.

Haumea is the 3rd closest dwarf planet to the sun and lives in the Kuiper belt. Haumea is strangely oval in shape due to the fast rotation its spins. Haumea also has two orbiting moons. So fast is Haumea that it completely turns on its axis every 4 hours.   

Makemake is the 4th closest dwarf planet to the sun and lives in the Kuiper belt. Makemake is also the 3rd largest dwarf planet in the solar system. Makemake is red in color, has 1 moon, is a perfect sphere and has no atmosphere.

Eris is the 5th closest dwarf planet to the sun and lives in the Kuiper belt. Which actually makes Eris the further dwarf planet from the sun. Eris has 1 moon, and is in a strange orbit around the sun. Eris at times in orbit around the sun leaves the Kuiper belt altogether and then comes back in.  

 

There should be millions upon millions of dwarf planets similar to the dwarfs outside of the solar system,  however we just haven’t found them yet with current technology. We know that there are many extra solar system planets that are normal sized planets that have already been discovered, and we think that there are also endless amounts of these planets orbiting stars in the universe. These extra solar system planets are called ‘Exoplanets’. We will definitely discover millions of dwarf planets and exoplanets in the future.

 

Kids Fun Facts Corner

# 1. There are many more dwarf planets in the solar system awaiting confirmation.

# 2. Dwarf planets are different to satellites. (moons)

# 3. Ceres was discovered by astronomer Giuseppe Piazza in 1801.

# 4. Pluto was discovered by astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh in 1930.

# 5. Haumea was discovered by a team of scientists in 2004.

# 6. Makemake was discovered by a team of scientists in 2005.

# 7. Eris was discovered by a team of scientists in 2005. 

 

Q&A Corner

Q. What are dwarf planets?

Q. What are the names of the dwarf planets in the solar system?

Q. How many known dwarf planets are there in the solar system?

Q. Which dwarf planet is the closest to the sun?

Q. Which dwarf planet is the furthest from the sun?

Download questions about dwarf planets here: dwarf planets (answers are on this page)

Teachers. For more in depth work sheets on dwarf planets. Click on Kidskonnect. Worksheets 

For more information on dwarf planets visit https://theplanets.org/dwarf-planets/

Key Vocabulary Solar System. Planet. Sun. Exoplanet.