Dwarf planets are a very controversial category of celestial objects since 2006 when Pluto was “demoted” from being a planet to a dwarf planet.

And the truth is that the definition of what constitutes a dwarf planet is a bit blurry as there are objects that can be considered both a dwarf planet and an asteroid. For example, Ceres, which is located in the asteroid belt is often referred to as both.

Still, most astronomers agree that there are currently 10 known dwarf planets in the Solar system with another 7 possible candidates that are currently being studied.

There are still no dwarf planets found in other star systems as they are too small to detect.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the list of dwarf planets, their names, and the origin of each of those names.

How are dwarf planets named?

Dwarf planets are some of the few recently discovered objects that still receive proper names. Most newly discovered celestial objects simply receive a scientific designation or catalog number.

The International Astronomical Union, the organization in charge of naming and cataloging astronomical objects allow the people who discovered the dwarf planet to name them. The only rule that must be followed is that they have to be named after creator deities of any culture.

The exceptions to this rule are Pluto and Ceres, which were named before the rules were created.

As for their scientific designations, they can get multiple names depending on how they are categorized at the time of discovery. They also usually get a minor planet designation which is a sequential number that is assigned to all the objects that are too small to be considered a planet and too big to be considered a meteoroid. This includes asteroids, dwarf planets, and other trans-Neptunian objects. For example, the minor planet designation of the dwarf planet Eris is 136199.

Dwarf planet names

Dwarf planet nameLocationOther designationsDiscoveryName meaning
CeresAsteroid belt1 Ceres1801Roman goddess of agriculture
OrcusKuiper belt(90482) Orcus, 2004 DW2004One of the Roman deities of the underworld
Plutobeyond Neptune(134340) Pluto1930Greek god of the underworld
SalaciaKuiper belt(120347) Salacia, 2004 SB602004Roman goddess of salt water. Consort to Neptune.
HaumeaKuiper belt(136108) Haumea, 2003 EL612004Goddess of fertility and childbirth in Hawaiian mythology
QuaoarKuiper belt(50000) Quaoar, 2002 LM602002Mythological figure of the Mission Indians of coastal Southern California
MakemakeKuiper belt(136472) Makemake, 2005 FY92005Creator of humanity and god of fertility in the myths of the native people of Easter Island
GonggongScattered disc(225088) Gonggong, 2007 OR102007Chinese water god
ErisGreek goddess of strife and discord(136199) Eris, 2003 UB313, Xena2005Gree goddess of strife and discord
SednaBeyond Neptune(90377) Sedna, 2003 VB122003Goddess of the sea in Inuit mythology
List of dwarf planet names

Candidate dwarf planets with proper names

The following are dwarf planet candidates that are still being studied before they get officially considered as such. A few of these objects that are highly likely to qualify have received proper names.

These might get renamed if/when they get officially named dwarf planets.

Dwarf planet nameLocationOther designationsDiscoveryName meaning
VardaBeyond Neptune(174567) Varda, 2003 MW122003Queen of the Valar, creator of the stars in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books
IxionBeyond Neptune(28978) Ixion, 2001 KX762001King of the Lapiths in Greek mythology
List of candidate dwarf planet names

List of names of other celestial objects

If you didn’t find the names you were looking for in this list, try our other lists of names for other celestial objects. Stars and constellations tend to have more interesting names than galaxies.


Elena is a Canadian journalist and researcher. She has been looking at the sky for years and hopes to introduce more people to the wonderful hobby that is astronomy.