Asteroids are small astronomical objects in a planetary system like our solar system that orbit a central star. In our solar system, most asteroids are present in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids are often called as minor planets due to their significantly smaller sizes — about 1000 km in diameter. Most of them are rich in carbon along with other minerals and rocks. The most common classes of asteroids are C-type, M-type, S-type, and D-type, which are classified based on their composition derived from the emission spectrum and along with the albedo of the asteroid.
Frequently Asked Questionsedit
What is the difference between an asteroid and a meteoroid?edit
An asteroid is usually a remnant piece of a shattered protoplanet that is larger in size that spans up to 1000 km in diameter. A meteoroid, on the other hand, is usually a small chunk of an asteroid or another astronomical body like a comet and has a maximum diameter of one meter.
What is the difference between an asteroid and a comet?edit
The distinction between a comet and an asteroid is mainly in their chemical composition. While asteroids are usually made up of minerals and rocks, comets are made up of ice and dust. When the distinction is too blurry, comets can be identified with an extremely eccentric orbit around the star. Sometimes, comets become dormant and could be classified as an asteroid.
What is the largest asteroid in the solar system?edit
Ceres and Vesta are the two largest objects in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. With a mean diameter of 946 km, Ceres is the largest asteroid in the solar system. As Ceres is also massive enough to round itself to a spheroid with its own gravity, it is now promoted as a dwarf planet. In that case, Vesta would be the largest asteroid.