Stars vs Planets: Difference and Comparison

The night sky has always fascinated many people as many heavenly bodies can be found in the sky during this time. The planets, stars, comets, asteroids, and constellations are some of the bodies that are found.

Although these are situated many light years away from the Earth and appear to be tiny objects to the naked eye despite being large.

Key Takeaways

  1. Stars are massive celestial bodies that generate light and energy through nuclear fusion.
  2. Planets are smaller celestial bodies that do not generate their light and energy but instead reflect the light of a star.
  3. The main difference between stars and planets is their size, energy source, and ability to generate light.

Stars vs Planets

A star is a term used to describe luminous celestial objects composed of hot plasma, which emits energy, including light and heat, through nuclear fusion reactions in its core. A planet is a term used to describe smaller bodies that orbit around stars and do not generate their own light or heat.

Stars vs Planets
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Star is an object that is distinguished as an astronomical object within the universe and has its very own light emission source. In other words, they don’t need any other source to show luminance.

Also, they don’t change their position themselves, but if they do, it is due to some massive cause.

Planets are an important part of the universe as earth is also among one of the examples of planets other than the other seven: Mercury, Mars, Venus, Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus, and Saturn.

They used to move around the sun in the solar system but on their fixed position and way stated as “orbit.”

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonStarsPlanets
DefinitionHeavenly objects possess their source of light and are formed by the thermonuclear fusion  Heavenly objects possess a fixed revolutionary path and revolve around stars
LightOwn sourceSun is the source
PositionThey don’t change it but only at a certain large distanceThey change it
SizeLargeSmall
Temperature LargeLess
Twinkling EffectShownAbsent
MatterLight elements, Hydrogen, Helium, and many otherOften made up of liquid and gases, sometimes with solid particles too
Number (in the solar system)18
ShapeDotSphere
Revolution PeriodFixed and unnoticeableFixed path

What are Stars?

Stars are objects that revolve in the universe within themselves. In simple terms, stars can be stated as objects that have a self-emitting source of light and are formed because of continuous thermonuclear fusion.

The light source that is said to be self comes from nuclear fusion, which occurs because of the conversion from hydrogen to helium, which is what emits the light.

They have a fixed position in the universe, and they also move with that only, but the movement is much small because of which it is not get noticed. But if any large distance movement takes place, it gets noticed.

They have very large sizes and have very high temperatures within them. These constituents are hydrogen and helium, which breaks down continuously and, along with it, some other elements with light atomic masses.

stars

What are Planets?

Planets are other objects that are also members of the universe. In simple terms, they can be stated as the objects of the universe which don’t have a self-emitting source of light and move around a fixed path.

The light source achieved by the planets is from the star that is the sun present in the solar system.

In the solar system, there are eight planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. Earth is the third planet from the sun and is the only planet suitable for life.

The size of these planets varies accordingly, and so as their temperature, the planets that are near to the sun have a warm temperature, and the ones away from the sun are cold.

The constituents of these planets are different depending on their name, but the main ones are – liquid and gases and sometimes have solid particles. 

planets

Main Differences Between Stars and Planets

  1. Stars can be stated as the heavenly objects that are present in the universe having with own light source and formed by thermonuclear fusion, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the Planets can be stated as the heavenly body that revolves in a fixed path around the star.
  2. The light source of stars is present on their own, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the light source of the planet comes from the star that is Sun. In other words, they don’t have their self-light source.
  3. The position of the stars is normally unnoticeable as they don’t change it, but when they move to a considerable distance, it is noticeable, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the position of the planets is changing because they revolve around their axis and around the star.
  4. The size of the star in the universe tends to appear quite big, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the size of the planets in the universe appears to be small.
  5. The temperature possessed by a star is very high, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the temperature of any planet can be high or low but never as high as a star.
  6. Star shows an extraordinary effect or phenomenon that is known as the twinkling effect, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, planets are the bodies that don’t show any such phenomenon.
  7. The composition of the stars includes many elements that have light atomic masses, with hydrogen and helium, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the composition of the planets differ according to their name, although the main constituents are – liquid and gases, and sometimes they have solid particles too.
  8. In the solar system, only one star is present, and that is Sun, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, in the solar system, there are eight total planets.
  9. Stars have dot-shaped, whereas comparatively on the other hand, the planets have a sphere-shaped size.
  10. The revolution period of the star is fixed, but it is unnoticeable, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the revolution period of the planets is also fixed, and the specific term used for it is ‘orbit.’ 
Difference Between Stars and Planets

References

  1. https://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/full/2001/27/aah2744/node2.html
  2. https://academic.oup.com/mnras/article/308/2/447/1047228?login=true
  3. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1086/377080/meta
  4. https://academic.oup.com/mnras/article-abstract/335/4/1005/962058
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