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Q & A: Light from planets and stars

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Most recent answer: 05/18/2009
Q:
How come when the planets are far away they shine and are called stars. But when you close up on them they are dull?
- Madison (age 11)
U.S
A:
Planets are not stars.  They do not produce their own light, like stars.  The light you see from planets, at least in our solar system, is that reflected from the sun. 

LeeH

The planets' surfaces (including out own)  are very dull compared to those of hot stars. However, to us the planets look as bright or brighter than most stars because they are much closer to us.

Mike W.

(published on 05/18/2009)

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