Ceres is a dwarf planet which is smallest in size with a diameter of 950 kilometers and closest to the Sun. It is located in the asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter. It is the only dwarf planet which lies in the inner solar system.
It was first spotted on Jan. 1, 1801 by Sicilian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi. Initially, it was called a planet, but later demoted to an asteroid. In 2006, its status changed again and it was categorized as a dwarf planet.
Quick Facts: –
- Ceres is responsible for approximately one third of the mass of the entire asteroid belt.
- This dwarf planet is believed to have a rocky core with an icy inner mantle that is 100 kilometers thick.
- In 2015, Ceres also became the first ever dwarf planet to receive a visit from a spacecraft.
- It is too dim to be seen with the naked eye. The viewer must have exceptional eyesight under the right conditions to see it.
- The presence of water ice on this dwarf planet has led scientists to speculate that life may exist there.
- It is believed that its surface of is made of a mixture of water ice, carbonates and clays.
- It completes one orbit in 4.6 Earth years and completes a full rotation every nine hours and four minutes.
- It has a mysterious white spot which can be seen in photos taken by both the Hubble Telescope and the Dawn spacecraft.
- It is also home to a conical mountain named as Ahuna Mons.