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Ceres (dwarf planet) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ceres Ceres symbol.svg
Ceres optimized.jpg
Ceres as seen by Hubble Space Telescope(ACS).[1] The contrast has been enhanced to reveal surface details.
Discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi
Discovery date 1 January 1801
MPC designation 1 Ceres
Pronunciation /ˈsɪərz/ seer-eez[3]
Named after Cerēs
Alternative names A899 OF; 1943 XB
Minor planet category dwarf planet
main belt
Adjective Cererian /sɨˈrɪəri.ən/[4]
Orbital characteristics[6]
Epoch 2013-Nov-04
(JD 2456600.5)
Aphelion 2.9765 AU (445,280,000 km)
Perihelion 2.5570 AU (382,520,000 km)
Semi-major axis 2.7668 AU (413,910,000 km)
Eccentricity 0.075797
Orbital period 4.60 yr
1680.99 d
Synodic period 466.7 d
1.278 yr
Average orbital speed 17.882 km/s
Mean anomaly 10.557°
Inclination 10.593° to Ecliptic
9.20° to Invariable plane[5]
Longitude of ascending node 80.3276°
Argument of perihelion 72.2921°
Proper orbital elements[7]
Proper semi-major axis 2.7670962 AU
Proper eccentricity 0.1161977
Proper inclination 9.6474122°
Proper mean motion 78.193318 deg / yr
Proper orbital period 4.60397 yr
(1681.601 d)
Precession ofperihelion 54.070272 arcsec / yr
Precession of theascending node −59.170034 arcsec / yr
Physical characteristics
Equatorial radius 487.3 ± 1.8 km[8]
Polar radius 454.7 ± 1.6 km[8]
Surface area 2,850,000 sq km

9.43 ± 0.07×1020 kg[9]

0.00015 Earths
0.0128 Moons
Mean density 2.077 ± 0.036 g/cm3[8]
Equatorial surface gravity 0.27 m/s2
0.028 g[10]
Escape velocity 0.51 km/s[10]
Sidereal rotation period 0.3781 d
9.074170 h[11][12]
Axial tilt about 3°[8]
North poleright ascension 19 h 24 min
North poledeclination 59°[8]
Albedo 0.090 ± 0.0033 (V-band geometric)[13]
Surface temp. min mean max
Kelvin ? ~168 K[17] 235 K[18]
Spectral type C[14]
Apparent magnitude 6.64[15] to 9.34[16]
Absolute magnitude(H) 3.36 ± 0.02[13]
Angular diameter 0.854" to 0.339"

Ceres, minor-planet designation 1 Ceres, is the largest asteroid and the only dwarf planet in the inner Solar System, orbiting in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.[19][20][21] It is a rock–ice body 950 km (590 mi) in diameter and the smallest identified dwarf planet. It contains about one-third of the aggregate mass of the whole asteroid belt.[22][23] Discovered on 1 January 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi,[24] it was the first asteroid to be identified, though it was classified as a planet at the time.[25] It is named after Ceres, the Roman goddess of growing plants, the harvest, and motherly love.

The surface of Ceres is probably a mixture of water ice and various hydrated minerals such as carbonates and clay minerals.[14] It appears to be differentiated into a rocky core and icy mantle,[8] and may harbor an ocean of liquid water under its surface.[26][27] From Earth, the apparent magnitude of Ceres ranges from 6.7 to 9.3, and hence even at its brightest it is still too dim to be seen with the naked eye except under extremely dark skies.[15]

The unmanned Dawn spacecraft, launched on 27 September 2007 by NASA, is expected to be the first to explore Ceres after its scheduled arrival there in February 2015.[28] After having orbited asteroid 4 Vesta since July 2011, the spacecraft departed for Ceres in September 2012.[29]

On 22 January 2014, ESA scientists reported the detection of water vapor on Ceres.[30] This first definitive detection was made by using the far-infrared abilities of the Herschel Space Observatory.[31] The finding is unexpected because althoughcomets are typically considered to "sprout jets and plumes",[31] asteroids do not generally exhibit such features.

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