The solar system: Is Pluto a planet?

Did You Know: Space – Is Pluto a planet?

For many years Pluto was known as a planet, but this is no longer the case.

Pluto is now called a dwarf planet. It is much smaller than other planets, but it does still have a lot in common with them—it is round, has moons, and orbits the sun.

Small size

Pluto is smaller than Earth’s moon. It is far away from the sun in a region of the solar system called the Kuiper Belt, which lies beyond the planet Neptune.

Pluto’s heart

This part of Pluto’s surface is shaped like a heart. It is smooth and doesn’t have craters. Its name is Tombaugh Regio, after Clyde Tombaugh, the American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930

Pluto’s surface

There are craters, gigantic rivers of ice called glaciers, and mountains on Pluto’s surface. Scientists think there may also be volcanoes that spew out ice instead of lava.

Are there other dwarf planets?


Makemake is a cold dwarf planet and it has at least one moon. So far, there are five known dwarf planets, and four of them are in the Kuiper Belt. There are probably many more waiting to be discovered.


This dwarf planet takes 283 Earth years to complete one orbit around the sun.

Haumea is shaped like a football and has two moons. A space probe has not yet visited Haumea.