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Chronology: Asteroids, Comets, and Other Small Bodies of the Solar System 1.0

30 Jun 2020, 06:26 UTC
Chronology: Asteroids, Comets, and Other Small Bodies of the Solar System 1.0
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Asteroid and dwarf planet 1 Ceres. Image credit: NASA.1 Ceres (above) is an asteroid and a dwarf planet, much at Pluto is a Kuiper Belt Object and a dwarf planet. Ceres, discovered on the first day of the 19th century (1 January 1801), is the queen of the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter much as Pluto, discovered on 18 February 1930, is the king of the Kuiper Belt, which begins roughly at the orbit of Neptune. Ceres is without question the largest asteroid; the Main Belt is well understood. Pluto remains the largest known Kuiper Belt Object (KBO), though new discoveries could nudge it from the top position; as the Kuiper Belt becomes better understood, however, this becomes increasingly unlikely. (It is not the most massive body known beyond Neptune; that honor presently belongs to 136199 Eris, another dwarf planet.)Ceres was widely considered a planet until the 1850s, by which time new data had made clear that it was the first known example of a new category of small Solar System body, the asteroids. In similar fashion, Pluto was widely considered a planet from its discovery until 24 August 2006, by which time new data had made clear that ...

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