Planets and satellites are astronomical bodies that resemble one another in their appearances and revolve around other astronomical objects. However, there is a difference between planet and satellite. While planets are celestial bodies that revolve in a given orbit around a star, a satellite is a celestial body that revolves around another object.
A major difference between them is that while planets have the power to rotate on their axis as well as revolve around the star, satellites only revolve in their orbits. We have shared the further difference between planet and satellite here.
Planet and Satellite - Comparison
Planets and satellites are two of the most well-known and vital astronomical bodies. Planets generally revolve in a fixed pattern, along the orbits of other stars. For example, the planets - including Earth - revolve in their respective orbits around the Sun in the solar system. The star is generally not massive enough to cause any thermonuclear reaction.
On the other hand, a satellite can revolve around any other astronomical object. Most of the time, satellites are observed to be revolving around a planet. One interesting fact about satellites is that there can be natural as well as artificial satellites.
Difference Between Planet and Satellite
There are numerous differences that distinguish a planet from a satellite. The major difference between planet and satellite is that while all planets are natural celestial bodies, satellites can be natural as well as man-made or artificial. Another difference between planet and satellite has been shared in the table below -
Any celestial body that does not have a light of its own and orbits around a star is known as a planet.
Satellites are celestial bodies that orbit around a planet or any other celestial body with a relatively higher mass. Satellites can be artificial or natural.
Planets are huge in size, which causes the gravitational force to dominate over their electromagnetic force. As a result, planets like Earth have a strong gravitational force.
The mass of satellites is always lower than their parent planet. Satellites are generally dependent on the planet's gravitational force to orbit around it.
All planets rotate through an imaginary axis. Earth’s imaginary axis divides the planet longitudinally into two halves. This rotation causes day and night.
Natural satellites do not rotate. They have fixed centres and only revolve around the planets or other astronomical objects.
The planets in our solar system are Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Earth, Uranus, Mars and Neptune.
Some examples of natural satellites are Moon (orbiting around the Earth) and Europa (orbiting around Jupiter). A planet may also have more than one satellite.
Planets vs Satellites - Tabular Comparison
Although planets and satellites are both studied as a part of astrophysics, they are entirely unique astronomical bodies. There is a difference between planets and satellites in the way they move, and the properties that they have. Here is a tabular comparison of Planet vs Satellite -
The word “Planet” is believed to have come from the Greek word "planan". This Greek word means "to wander".
The Latin word "satelles" is associated with the word "satellites." This Latin word means "to attend to" or "to follow."
Planets revolve around a star, following a fixed orbit. In our solar system, all the planets revolve around the sun.
Satellites may revolve around any astronomical object. The Earth’s natural satellite, Moon, revolves around the Earth’s longitudinal axis.
The revolving of the planet Earth around the sun causes us to experience the change of seasons.
The revolving of the Moon around the Earth causes us to experience night and day.
A planet is generally tilted at an axial angle to the plane of the star's equator so that each of the planet's hemispheres is in a position to receive optimal light from the star at various points of its rotation.
Satellites generally revolve around the planet in uninclined orbits. In fact, they are thought to be formed due to a collision between two astronomical bodies.
FAQs on Difference Between Planet and Satellite
Q.1. What is the difference between Planet and Satellite?
The major difference between Planet and Satellite is that while planets have the power to rotate on their axis as well as revolve around the star, satellites only revolve in their orbits. Moreover, another important difference between planets and satellites is that satellites can be natural or artificial while planets are only naturally occurring.
Q.2. Are Planets and Satellites both naturally occurring astronomical bodies?
The key difference between Planet and Satellite is that while planets can only be natural celestial objects, satellites can be both natural as well as artificial. Humans have launched several satellites into space that can revolve around a specific astronomical object.
Q.3. How are planets different from satellites?
The difference between planet and satellite is that planets are naturally occurring objects while satellites can be either naturally occurring or artificial. Moreover, planets generally revolve around a star whereas satellites can revolve around any astronomical object.
Q.4. Is a planet also a satellite?
While planets are not generally regarded as satellites, they contain some similar properties to satellites. Like satellites, planets also revolve around celestial bodies. So, while there is a considerable difference between planet and satellite, planets can also technically be called satellites.