|Discovered by||Giuseppe Piazzi|
|Discovery date||January 1, 1801|
|Other names||A899 OF; 1943 XB|
|Reference date November 26, 2005
|Longest distance from the Sun||447,838,164 km
|Shortest distance from the Sun||381,419,582 km
|Longest distance from the center of its orbital path
2.765 956 424 AU
|How long it takes to complete an orbit||1679.819 days
|Average speed||17.882 km/s|
|Angle above the reference plane
|Size and other qualities|
|Average radius||473 km|
|Mass||9.46 ± 0.04×1020 kg|
|Average density||2.08 g/cm3|
|Surface gravity||0.27 m/s²
|Escape velocity||0.51 km/s|
|How much light it reflects||0.113 (geometric)|
|6.7 to 9.32|
It was discovered on 1 January 1801, by Giuseppe Piazzi, and is named after the Roman goddess Ceres—the goddess of growing plants, the harvest, and of motherly love. After about 200 years from its discovery, the International Astronomical Union decided to upgrade Ceres from an asteroid (or minor planet) to dwarf planetary status in 2006.
With a diameter of about 950 km, Ceres is by far the largest and most massive object in the asteroid belt, and has about a third of the belt's total mass. It was once thought to be smaller than Vesta, which is brighter. Recent observations have discovered that the asteroid is spherical, unlike the irregular shapes of smaller bodies with lower gravity. At its brightest it is still too dim to be seen with the naked eye.
Images for kids
Piazzi's book Della scoperta del nuovo pianeta Cerere Ferdinandea outlining the discovery of Ceres, dedicated the new "planet" to Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.
VIR spectrometer mapping(bw; true-color; IR) of Ceres.
HST images taken over a span of 2 hours and 20 minutes in 2004
Artist's conception of Dawn, travelling from Vesta to Ceres
Ceres (dwarf planet) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.