Star vs Planet
Solar is a word that pertains to Sun and all things related to it. We live in a solar system that comprises our sun, the planets including our earth, and many other celestial objects. Remember that our sun is a star but the same cannot be said about earth and the other planets that comprise the solar system. If you have ever looked up at the sky and wondered what it is that differentiates a star from a planet, read on as this article will unearth some interesting facts about the planets and the stars.
Sun is a star that is closest to earth. It forms our solar system that is very important for us as our earth is a part of this solar system as a planet inside it that rotates around the centre of this solar system, the sun. There are billions of other stars in the universe, but they are far away from earth. This is why stars seem to be tiny to us even though they may be even larger than our sun in many instances. In comparison to these stars, planets are much closer to earth which is why they seem to be bigger to us when we take a look at them with the help of a telescope. All stars produce light like the sun. The light emitted by sun falls upon other celestial bodies, and they reflect it. But what are stars anyway? They are large bodies of gases that are held together by a pressure that is more than the pressure applied by its gravity to make it collapse. There are hot gases in the centre of a star that apply pressure outwards and prevent the star from collapsing. This heat is generated through thermonuclear reactions (mainly nuclear fusion that converts hydrogen into helium) taking place at the centre of the star. All this heat provides the equilibrium that prevents the star from collapsing. It is when a star uses up its fuel in the form of hydrogen that it finally explodes into a supernova, giving out hundreds and even thousands of tons of gases and other elements such as carbon, iron, and oxygen into space. The first of the stars ran out of fuel to explode into supernovas was some 14 billion years ago.
The planets that we know about, including our earth, are the remnants of the stars that blew up billions of years ago. Scientists believe that our planets were formed 4-5 billion years ago with the atoms spewed by exploding stars much earlier. The clouds of gases given out by stars at the end of their lives were thick at some places while these clouds were thin at some places. Iron being the heaviest of the elements produced by supernovas made up the centers of different planets with other elements that were lighter such as carbon, hydrogen, helium and oxygen formed the surface of the planets. As far as the shapes of the planets were concerned all became spherical as this shape resulted with gravity of the planets pulling evenly across all directions.
Inside our solar system, some of the planets got formed near the sun while others formed away from the sun. Their distance from the sun decided their temperature with those closer to sun becoming very hot. Earth is closer to sun, but it cooled down gradually over a long period of time. Planets such as Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn are mostly made up of gases and are softer as they do not have iron in their centers.
What is the difference between a Star and a Planet?
• Planets are celestial bodies inside our solar system that rotate around the sun. Our earth is one of these 9 planets.
• Stars are bodies of hot gases that remain intact because of high heat generated through thermonuclear reactions taking place at their centers that use hydrogen as a fuel and convert it into helium.
• As long as there is enough fuel, stars remain in their shape but explode once this fuel is used up and spew out many elements into outer space.
• Planets are formed with the help of the atoms of stars that exploded into supernovas some 14 billion years ago.
• Planets that were formed close to the sun remained hot for a long time while those far away became soft and were labeled as soft gas giants such as Uranus, Saturn, and Neptune.
Recent research by NASA suggests that the heavier elements from stars may not be the only way for the formation of some of the plants.