LYNETTE COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LYNETTE COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Dwarf planets and candidates. Computer artwork of the 3 dwarf planets (Eris, Pluto and Ceres), 12 dwarf planet candidates and Charon, a satellite of Pluto, next to the Earth (bottom right). Left to right, starting at top left these are; Eris, 2003 EL61, Orcus, Sedna, 2005 FY9, Quaoar, Ixion, 2002 TX300, Varuna, 2002 AW197, Ceres, Pallas, Vesta, Hygiea, Pluto and Charon. A dwarf planet is defined as an object large enough to be spherical due to its gravity, and with an independent orbit around the Sun. A true planet has to dominate its orbit around the Sun. Pluto, Eris, 2003 EL61, Orcus, Sedna, 2005 FY9, Quaoar, Ixion, 2002 TX300, Varuna and 2002 AW197 Kuiper Belt objects. Ceres, Pallas, Vesta and Hygiea are asteroid belt objects.
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