At night, when you look up high in the sky, you will notice trillions of shining dots, out of which some appear brighter, some are bigger while some of them twinkle. It is a point to ponder, what are these bright dots? So they are nothing but stars and planets. Stars are heavenly bodies that possess their own light and twinkle. On the flip side, planets are celestial objects, which moves around the star, in an elliptical orbit. These two bodies might look alike, but as per science there are huge differences between stars and planets, which we’ve simplified for you in this article in detail.
Content: Stars Vs Planets
|Basis for Comparison||Stars||Planets|
|Meaning||Stars are the astronomical objects, that emit their own light, produced due to thermonuclear fusion, occurring at its core.||Planets refers to the celestial object that has a fixed path (orbit), in which it moves around the star.|
|Light||They have their own light.||They do not have their own light.|
|Position||Their position remain unchanged.||They change position.|
|Number||There are billions of stars in a galaxy.||There are only eight planets in our galaxy.|
|Twinkle||Stars twinkle.||Planets do not twinkle.|
|Matter||Hydrogen, Helium and other light elements.||Solid, liquid or gases, or a combination thereon.|
Definition of Stars
Stars can be understood as the glowing ball, consisting of plasma, clasped together by its gravity. Plasma is an intensely-heated state of matter. Stars are made up of gases like hydrogen, helium and similar other light elements.
The shine in the stars is due to the nuclear reaction that takes place in their core, as a result of the fusion of hydrogen into helium. The nuclear reaction occurring in the stars continuously emit energy in the form of light, in the universe, that helps us to see them and also observe them through radio telescope.
One important characteristic of the star is that they twinkle because as the light of star falls on the earth it passes through earth’s atmosphere and as a result of atmospheric refraction, they seem to twinkle.
The Sun is the closest star to the planet Earth, which is nearly 150 million km away. The distance of stars is expressed in light-years, i.e. the distance travelled by light per year. It seems moving from east to west.
Definition of Planets
The term ‘planet’ represents the heavenly objects that revolve around a star, in a definite path, i.e. orbit. It is huge enough that is occupies shape of a sphere by its gravity, but not as large to effect nuclear reaction. In addition to this, it has cleared other bodies in its neighbouring area. Planets of our solar system, are divided into two parts:
- Inner Planets: The planets whose orbit rests inside the asteroid belt is known as inner planets. These are small in size and consist of a solid elements like rocks and metals. It includes Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.
- Outer Planets: Outer planets are the ones, whose orbit lies external to the asteroid belt. Their size is comparatively larger than inner planets and has a ring around them. They are made up of gases like hydrogen, helium and so on. It encompasses, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.
Key Differences Between Stars and Planets
The points given below are noteworthy, so far as the difference between stars and planets is concerned:
- The astronomical bodies that release their own light produced due to thermonuclear fusion, occurring at its core, is known as Stars. The celestial object that has a fixed path (orbit), in which it moves around the star, are known as Planets.
- Stars have their own light, whereas planets do not have their own light, they reflect the sunlight that falls on the planets.
- Stars remain fixed at a position. However, they appear moving from east to west. On the other hand, the position of planets tends to change, as they move around the sun.
- The size of the stars is comparatively larger than the planets.
- The shape of a star is like a dot. As against this, the shape of the planet is spherical.
- The temperature of a star is very high, while that of a planet is low.
- There are numerous stars in our galaxy, and so they are uncountable. On the contrary, there are total eight planets in our solar system.
- Stars appear to twinkle due to constant refraction of light in earth’s atmosphere. In contrast, planets are a bit closer to earth, and light reflected from them passes directly through the earth’s atmosphere without any bending, and so they do not twinkle.
- Stars are made up of hydrogen, helium and other light elements. Conversely, planets are made up of states of matter such as solid, liquid, gases or combination of these.
Therefore, with the above discussion, you might have got the clear understanding on the differences between these two along with the reasons for differences. Whenever a new solar system is created, first of all, stars are formed, whereas planets are formed later on, within the orbit of the star.