What is the difference between a star, planet, and moon?

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May 4, 2016

A Star is a ball of gas of such a mass that, when compressed by gravity will generate energy due to atomic fusion, and therefore generates light.

A planet is a body that when compressed by gravity will not generate fusion, be it composed of mostly gas or mostly rocky material. It has a stable orbit around a star and also must be of a certain size. Pluto is not a planet mostly due to the fact that is is smaller that our own Moon.

A moon is a rocky celestial body that orbits, mainly, a planet. Big planets may have moons that, if it orbited the star, would be considered a planet.

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Jan 29, 2017

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Pluto is no longer considered a planet because it has not yet cleared the neighborhood of its orbit in space.

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A planet must have “cleared the neighborhood" of its orbit. This means that as a planet travels, its gravity sweeps and clears the space around it of other objects. Some of the objects may crash into the planet, others may become moons. Pluto dwells in the Kuiper Belt with hundreds of siblings similar to it. Unlike other planets it does not have the gravitational pull to clear it's area.

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