Three Dwarf Planets

A Digital Article about the Dwarf Planets


Have you ever wondered about dwarf planets? Well, in our solar system there are five dwarf planets. Pluto, Ceres, Eris, Makemake, and Haumea. There are four qualifications in order for a dwarf planet to be a dwarf planet. First, it must orbit the sun. Next, it should have enough mass to assume a nearly round shape. It also needs to not be a moon. It must not have a clear neighborhood around its orbit, unlike planets. This means there is more mass in a few objects that orbit the object combined. There may be hundreds or thousands of dwarf planets left to be discovered. The qualifications happened in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union [IAU]

Perfect Pluto

One of the dwarf planets in our solar system is Pluto. It is mainly made out of ice and rock, and was discovered on February 15, 1930. Pluto is located in the Kuiper Belt. Pluto's orbit period is 284 years! The place where it was discovered in 1930 will not be the same until 2178! Surprisingly its orbit is an oval. Its closest distance from the sun is 2.75 billion miles, and in 1979-1999 Pluto was closer to the sun than Neptune. Its farthest distance from the sun is 4.6 billion miles. Its average distance from the sun is 5,913.5 million km. According to NASA, Pluto's moons are Charon, Hydra, Nix, Styx, and Kerberos. Pluto may be a double planet. Charon, Pluto's most well-known moon is about half the size of Pluto. Pluto, compared to the solar system, is like a tiny little speck. On Pluto you will weigh a lot less than you do on Earth. A theory made by scientists is that Pluto may have been a moon of Neptune that escaped from orbit. Pluto's surface looks yellow, orange, black, and gray from a view. Even to this day, Pluto is being argued over being a planet or dwarf planet.
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In 1801, a man named Giuseppe Piazza had a new discovery- Ceres, the fifth planet from the sun. For 50 years, Ceres was a planet. Then in 1851, Ceres was considered an asteroid. In 2006, Ceres became a dwarf planet. It is the smallest dwarf planet with a diameter of only 590 miles. In the asteroid belt, Ceres holds 1/3 of the Asteroid belt's mass, making it the largest object in the asteroid belt. According to NASA, scientists have discovered a mysterious light on Ceres, thinking it may be a sign of life. If there is no life, it may just have been an eruption of a volcano or ice. Ceres' mass is 943,000,000,000 billion kg. The orbit distance is 413,700,000 km. The orbit period around the sun is only 4.6 years which is short for a dwarf planet. Before you know it, astronauts are going to visit Ceres, since it is the only possible dwarf planet humans can go to in person.


In 2005, Eris was discovered by M.E. Brown, C.A Jurujillo, and D.L Ralinowitz. Eris is the biggest dwarf planet in our solar system. Eris was going to be debated over by a name: Xena, Lila, and Persephone [Pluto's wife]. Eris is a name named after the Greek goddess of strife and warfare. It was only a planet for one year! Eris has one moon- Dysnomia. It is so far from the sun that its orbit around the sun is 557 Earth years. Eris is located with Pluto in the Kuiper Belt. Also, according to Brainpop, Eris is located in the Scattered disk. The orbit distance is 10,120,000,000 km, and has a mass of 16,200,000,000,000 billion kg. Its diameter is 2,326 km and has an average temperature of -231 degrees C. Many scientists think it has a rocky surface and it has a frozen atmosphere. Eris reflects more light than any other object in the solar system except for Saturn's moon, Encladus.

Fun Facts

  • Other dwarf planets include Makemake and Haumea
  • Haumea has two moons
  • Haumea's moons include Hi'aka, and Namaka and are named after mythical daughters
  • Haumea has an oval shape, not sphere.
  • Sedna may become a dwarf planet with Quaoar
  • Sedna is the reddest object in the solar system
  • Sedna is located in the scattered disk
  • "Kuiper belt may be the remains of planet makings"


In this digital article you learned about dwarf planets. A dwarf planet is an object that doesn't have a cleared orbit path, has a round shape, and is not a moon. Pluto became a dwarf planet because of these rules. Two spacecrafts are moving toward the outer solar system which means there can be more dwarf planets found in the outer soar system! I hope you enjoyed my book about the dwarf planets.

The Glossary

  1. Kuiper belt [ki-per belt] Like the asteroid belt, it is a belt and most dwarf planets are found in this belt
  2. Scattered disk [sca-terd disk] a belt outside the kuiper belt.


Michael G.

Fourth Grade Student