Most asteroids are ordinary and not particularly noteworthy. For a smaller list of notable asteroids, see List of noteworthy asteroids.
List of asteroids
The list is too long to fit on one page, see these subpages:
Numbering and naming conventions
After discovery, asteroids generally receive a provisional designation (such as "1989 AC"), then a number (such as 4179), and finally (optionally) a name (such as "Toutatis"), in that order.
In modern times, an asteroid receives a sequential number only after its orbit is precisely known. Asteroids whose orbits are not (yet) precisely known are known by their provisional designation. This rule was not necessarily followed in earlier times, and some asteroids received a number but were subsequently "lost". All of these have now been recovered; the last "lost" numbered asteroid was 719 Albert.
For the reasons mentioned above, the sequence of numbers only approximately matches the timeline of discovery. In extreme cases, such as "lost" asteroids, there may be a considerable mismatch: for instance the high-numbered 69230 Hermes was originally discovered in 1937, but was lost until 2003. Only after it was recovered could its orbit be established and a number assigned. Before this, it was simply known as 1937 UB (its provisional designation).
Only after a number is assigned is the asteroid eligible to receive a name. (For many years, Hermes was a rare exception, an unnumbered asteroid with a name.) Usually the discoverer has up to 10 years to pick a name; some asteroids remain unnamed. Especially towards the end of the 20th century, with large-scale automated asteroid discovery programs such as LINEAR, the pace of discoveries has increased so much that it seems likely that the vast majority of "run of the mill" discoveries from now on will never receive names.
In rare cases, a very unusual object may receive an unofficial name before it is numbered. A recent example is 90377 Sedna, which officially had only the systematic name "2003 VB12" before it was numbered (90377) and, shortly thereafter, named in September, 2004.
- 2006 HZ51
- List of Apollo asteroids
- List of Amor asteroids
- List of asteroids named after people
- List of asteroids named after places
- List of asteroids with moons
- List of Aten asteroids
- List of centaurs
- List of scattered-disk objects
- Meanings of asteroid names
- Minor Planet Center
- Near-Earth asteroid
- Pronunciation of asteroid names
- Lists and plots: Minor Planets
- PDS Asteroid Data Archive
- SBN Small Bodies Data Archive
- NASA Near Earth Object Program
- Discover Magazine Feb. 2000: Alan Burdick half-seriously tries to get an asteroid named after himself
Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, 5th ed.: Prepared on Behalf of Commission 20 Under the Auspices of the International Astronomical Union, Lutz D. Schmadel, ISBN 3-540-00238-3