Dwarf Planet with Two Moons

The term dwarf planet was coined by planetary scientist Alan Stern as part of a three-way categorization of planetary-mass objects in the Solar System: classical planets (the big eight), dwarf planets and satellite planets. Dwarf planets were thus originally conceived of as a kind of planet, as the name suggests. However, in 2006 the term was adopted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) as a category of sub-planetary objects, part of a three-way recategorization of bodies orbiting the Sun precipitated by the discovery of Eris, an object farther away from the Sun than Neptune that was more massive than Pluto but still much smaller than the classical planets, after discoveries of a number of other objects that rivaled Pluto in size had forced a reconsideration of what Pluto was. Thus Stern and many other planetary geologists distinguish dwarfs planets from classical planets, but since 2006 the IAU and the majority of astronomers have excluded bodies such as Eris and Pluto from the roster of planets altogether. This redefinition of what constitutes a planet has been both praised and criticized.