What is the Difference Between a Planet and a Star

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The universe is vast, and it contains different types of planets, stars, galaxies, and much more. However, in this article, our focus will be on the key differences between the planet and the star. What differences set apart a planet from a star or vice versa? We have discussed that question and a lot more below.

Star 4

Table of Contents

Key Differences between a Star and a Planet?

Now that we know what stars and planets are, it is time to discuss the main differences. But before we do, please check out these links, because after all it is an amateur radio website: Band Plan Frequency Limits and Prohibited Amateur Radio Transmissions.  Below we have listed some major differences:

Stars have a hot temperature, which makes them incredibly hot.
Planets have relatively low temperatures, so they are not as hot as stars.
Stars do not rely on external energy sources and produce and emit their light.
Planets can't make their own light, relying on other energy sources.
Stars are capable of twinkling in the sky, especially at night.
Planets are incapable of exhibiting the twinkling effect like stars.
The stars frequently change their position but are only observable after a long time due to a substantial distance.
Planets change their positions frequently within their orbit.
Stars are made of light elements, helium, and hydrogen.
Plants are made of solid liquids, thereon combinations, or gases.
Stars are much bigger in size than planets.
Planets are large but much smaller than stars.
In our solar system, there is only one star (Sun).
Eight planets exist in our solar system.
Since stars are not a solid mass, they constantly change their shape.
Planets have a spheroid-like shape, and they don’t change their shape.
Stars have a quicker speed than planets.
Compared to stars, planets move slowly.
The stars orbit around a galaxy's center.
Planets orbit around a star.

What is a Planet?

Planet 1

A planet describes a large heavenly object that rotates around a star. In our case, the earth rotates around the sun (A star). A planet is large enough to occupy a spherical shape due to its gravity. However, the planet’s size is not big enough to cause a nuclear reaction. Check out RF Exposure in Amateur Radio: All you need to Know and Digital Repeater Systems: All you need to Know.  A planet has other bodies around it. Mainly, our solar system’s planets are divided into two categories:

Inner Planets

Inner planets are those that orbit within the asteroid belt. These planets consist of metals and rocks and are small-sized. Planets such as Earth, Venus, Mars, and Mercury are Inner planets. Please check these links out: Radio and Antenna: All you need to Know and Offset and CTCSS Tones: All you need to Know.

Outer Planets

Outer planets are those that orbit outside the asteroid belt. They are much larger than Inner planets and are usually surrounded by a ring. These planets are mostly made of gases, like helium, hydrogen, etc. Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn, and Neptune are Outer planets in our solar system.

Planet 2

What is a Star?

Stars are super-sized, glowing balls of plasma held together by gravity. Plasma occurs when the matter goes through an intensely-heating stage. Stars are made of several gases such as helium, hydrogen, and other light components.

The stars receive their shine through a nuclear reaction, which occurs in the core and results from helium fusing into hydrogen.  Check out RF Grounding: All you need to Know and Feed Lines: All you need to Know.

Star Works

This nuclear reaction emits energy in the shape of light in the universe. This light is what makes stars observable in the night sky. Another main component of stars is that when light falls on Earth, it passes through an atmosphere, making the stars twinkle.

The closest star to our planet is the sun, and it is almost 150 KM away from Planet Earth. Light years are used to explain the distance of stars. The definition of light years is the distance traveled by light annually.

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How to Observe Stars in the Sky?

Here are some key tips that will help you observe stars in the night sky:

Use a Printed Chart

While the computer and the internet are great companions when stargazing, it is best to use a chart. Each chart will present a different star that you can observe daily. You can easily buy these charts online or at a store that sells space-specific items.

Not the time to Purchase a Telescope

If you have a pair of binoculars, you probably don’t need a telescope. Point the binoculars at bright objects in the sky, such as stars. You should always go for noticeable star patterns, such as the Big Dipper’s second star.

If you are in a dark region or location, take your binoculars and observe the Milky Way Galaxy in the night sky. You can also check out hazy patches in the sky that are probably clouds of gases or clusters of stars.

Notice the Star Patterns

By noticing star patterns, stargazers are able to learn about constellations. The stargazers locate a noticeable pattern of stars and then notice other nearby patterns. Then, the stargazers start building outwards, going from one pattern to another. These people notice different straight lines, curves, and triangles of stars. Some patterns are very old and were probably observed by our ancestors.

Gradually Shift from the Binoculars to the Telescope

Have you been glaring at the sky with a binocular for six months? Were you able to notice any major constellations? If not, then it is time to invest in a telescope. Now you are acclimated to the sky and its nuances.

Just stare at the Sky.

The most straightforward and inexpensive thing to do is look up at the sky when you have time. You can notice the sky and its patterns when staring at it daily. If this intrigues you, you can observe the sky with a telescope or a pair of binoculars.

Planet 3

How do Observe Planets in the Sky?

Observing planets is different from observing stars. Below we have discussed a handful of planets and how you can observe them:


Venus is one of the easiest planets to observe in our solar system. Astronomers frequently follow the planet’s phases and its size changes. While Venus at bigger when it is between the Sun and Earth, it is at least six times bigger than Earth. Venus is also easier to observe in the day than other planets such as Mercury.


Every 26 months, Earth and Mars come close. As long as Mars has a transparent atmosphere, you can observe its details before or after the opposition (When it rises during sunset, usually when it is about to get closer to Earth). To observe the Red Planet, Astronomers use high magnifications. They concentrate on just one feature or region of the Red Planet.Mars


With the help of a telescope, you can easily observe the different phases of Mercury; however, the details are scant. The best time to observe Mercury is when the planet lies on its Elongation. This is when the planet is in the easternmost sky, further west from the sun, or in the evening sky when the planet is furthest from the sun’s east side.

Mercury is best visible during midday when the planet is positioned high. If you have trouble spotting Mercury, use an orange filter and cut down the blue light emitting from the sky.


The atmosphere of Uranus has a featureless haze. This detail was first reported in 1870 by observers. With the help of a small-sized telescope, you can observe a green-colored Uranus. Uranus takes about 44 days to move the width of the full moon.


When trying to observe Saturn, you must pay attention to the Cassini division, a dark gap between the brightest rings. You can observe this division with an eight-inch telescope. Notice the rings’ texture, differences, and colors. These features may change as well, and the zones of Saturn may appear yellow or slate grey.


After the moon and the sun, Jupiter is the most observable object in our solar system. Even small-sized telescopes can show all the details of Jupiter, such as the Northern and Southern Equatorial Belts. Observing Jupiter for several consecutive nights can be rewarding, as the planet’s rotation makes it observable.

What are the Different Colors of Stars?

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Stars usually have a surface temperature of about 5400 degrees Fahrenheit (3000 degrees Celsius); the temperature range matches the star’s color. The cool stars usually have a red color, whereas the stars with a hot temperature typically have a yellow or orange color. However, the hottest stars usually have a dark blue color.

Here are some colors of the hottest to the coldest star:

  • Deep Blue White
  • White
  • Dark Blue
  • Yellowish White
  • White
  • Blue White
  • Light Orange Red
  • Pale Yellow Orange