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- Created 2012-02-26
small Solar System bodies
s) that are not
s, especially those of the
inner Solar System
. They have also been called
, especially the larger ones. These terms have historically been applied to any astronomical object orbiting the
that did not show the disk of a planet and was not observed to have the characteristics of an active comet, but as small objects in the
outer Solar System
were discovered, their
-based surfaces were found to more closely resemble comets, and so were often distinguished from traditional asteroids. Thus the term
has come increasingly to refer specifically to the small bodies of the inner Solar System out to the orbit of
. They are grouped with the outer bodies—
s—as minor planets, which is the term preferred in astronomical circles. In this article the term "asteroid" refers to the minor planets of the inner Solar System.
There are millions of asteroids, many thought to be the shattered remnants of
s, bodies within the young Sun's
that never grew large enough to become
s. The large majority of known asteroids orbit in the
between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter or co-orbital with Jupiter (the
s). However, other orbital families exist with significant populations, including the
. Individual asteroids are classified by their characteristic
, with the majority falling into three main groups:
. These were named after and are generally identified with
lic compositions, respectively.
Only one asteroid,
, which has a relatively reflective surface, is normally visible to the naked eye, and this only in very dark skies when it is favorably positioned. Rarely, small asteroids passing close to Earth may be naked-eye visible for a short time.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 19 June), licensed under
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Rocks from the Main Belt asteroids
Alphabetical list of minor planet names (ASCII)
Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT)
NASA's Solar System Exploration
Asteroid Simulator with Moon and Earth
Alphabetical and numerical lists of minor planet names (Unicode)
Future Asteroid Interception Research
Near Earth Objects Dynamic Site
Asteroids Dynamic Site
JPL small bodies database
Asteroid naming statistics
Committee on Small Body Nomenclature
List of minor planet orbital groupings and families from ProjectPluto
When Did the Asteroids Become Minor Planets?
Kirkwood, Daniel; ''Relations between the Motions of some of the Minor Planets'' (1874).
Asteroid articles in Planetary Science Research Discoveries
Catalogue of the Solar System Small Bodies Orbital Evolution
Meanings of asteroid names
Marco Polo (spacecraft)
Asteroid deflection strategies
Orion Asteroid Mission
Centaur (minor planet)
Pronunciation of asteroid names
Minor Planet Center
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