Asteroids are rocky and irregularly shaped bodies that orbit around the Sun. They are mostly between Mars and Jupiter.Asteroids are rocky and metallic celestial bodies, have no defined shape and orbit around the Sun , but are not large enough to be classified as dwarf planets or planets . When viewed from Earth, these bodies have variable brightness. This is due to its irregular shape, which reflects sunlight in several directions.
The term asteroid was adopted in August 2006 by the International Astronomical Union (UAI) and is derived from the Greek “ aster”, which means star, and “oide” , a suffix that gives an idea of similarity. Therefore, an asteroid means similar to a star.
How were asteroids formed?
The most accepted theories about the formation of these celestial bodies are that they made up a single planet, that was destroyed by some strong collision, or that they are simply materials that never fused to form a planet. If the entire mass of known asteroids were grouped together, the result would be an object less than half the diameter of the Moon .
Where are the asteroids?
Much of the asteroids are between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter . This region is called the Asteroid Belt .Some asteroids can describe peculiar orbits and approach other planets, such as Earth and Mercury . This is the case with the asteroid Eros. The following image is of the crater formed by the Barringer meteorite in Arizona, United States. This 1186 km diameter celestial body reached Earth 49,000 years ago.
Ceres, the largest asteroid
Ceres is the largest known asteroid. It was discovered in 1801 by G. Piazzi and is almost 1000 km in diameter. It gained status as a dwarf planet at the meeting of the International Astronomical Union (UAI) in 2006. In Roman mythology, Ceres is the goddess of plants and maternal love.
The following table shows the names of some asteroids, their diameter, the discoverer’s name and the date of the discovery.