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Glossary term: Dwarf Planet

Description: A dwarf planet is a celestial body with the following properties: it orbits around the Sun, has enough mass to obtain a semi-spherical shape, has not cleared its path along its orbit, and is not a moon. Dwarf planets tend to orbit in regions made up of similar bodies, as in the case of the asteroid belt and Kuiper belt. In general, dwarf planets are smaller than Mercury, with icy rocky structures and no rings. The amount of ice relative to the rocks depends on their position in the Solar System. Pluto is the most famous dwarf planet.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition is still awaiting approval

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".

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Image of Pluto in enhanced colour to bring out differences in surface composition. They include craters, ridges and plains.

Pluto

Caption: NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution enhanced colour view of the dwarf planet Pluto on in July 2015. The image combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC). Pluto’s surface appears enhanced in this view to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds. The image resolves details and colours on scales as small as 1.3 kilometers.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute credit link
License: PD Public Domain icons
The asteroid Ceres, roughly spherical with a grey surface, many craters, some of which reveal white subsurface water ice.

Ceres

Caption: True-colour image of the asteroid Ceres acquired by the spaceprobe Dawn in May 2015, at a distance of 13641 km. The prominent, bright crater at right is Haulani. The smaller bright spot to its left is exposed on the floor of Oxo. Ejecta from these impacts appears to have exposed bright material, probably water ice.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA / Justin Cowart
License: CC-BY-2.0 Creative Comments Attribution 2.0 Generic icons