Ceres Hubble sing.jpg
1680.5 Earth days
4.60 Earth years
Distance from Sun:
1.527 AU
10.585° to Ecliptic

9.20° to Invariable plane

950 km
0.028 G

Ceres, formal designation 1 Ceres, is the smallest identified dwarf planet in the Solar System and the only one in the asteroid belt. It was discovered on January 1, 1801, by Giuseppe Piazzi, and is named after the Roman goddess Ceres — the goddess of growing plants, the harvest, and motherly love. It was the first dwarf planet discovered.

With a diameter of about 950 km, Ceres is by far the largest and most massive body in the asteroid belt, and contains about a third of the belt's total mass. Recent observations have revealed that it is spherical, unlike the irregular shapes of smaller bodies with lower gravity. The surface of Ceres is probably made of a mixture of water ice and various hydrated minerals like carbonates and clays. Ceres appears to be differentiated into a rocky core and ice mantle. It may harbor an ocean of liquid water underneath its surface, which makes it a potential target in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Ceres' apparent magnitude ranges from 6.7 to 9.3, and even at its brightest is still too dim to be seen with the naked eye, although it is observable with a telescope. On September 27, 2007, NASA launched the Dawn space probe to explore Vesta (2011–2012) and Ceres in (2015).

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