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Asteroid Facts

Small solar system bodies orbiting the Sun

  • Asteroids are also called planetoids or minor planets.
  • Asteroids are similar to comets but do not have a visible coma, the tail.
  • Majority of asteriods can be seen in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter or co-orbital with Jupiter (the Jupiter Trojans).
  • Newly disoveried asteriods in the early days are assigned iconic symbols
  • Ceres, discovered in 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi, is the first asteroid.
  • Ceres, is about the size of Texas.
  • Astrophotography, introduced in 1891, is a method to detect asteroids.
  • The dust covering an asteroid is called dust is called regolith.
  • The Chicxulub impact crater, aging to be 65 million years old, is believed to be responsible for the extinction of all dinosaurs.
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