Key Facts

  • Classified as a Main-belt Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the U.S. state of Alaska (939.40 km diameter)
  • Not a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA)
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

Ceres is a dwarf planet orbiting between Mars and Jupiter in the main portion of the asteroid belt. NASA JPL has not classified Ceres as potentially hazardous because its orbit does not bring it close to Earth.

Ceres orbits the sun every 1,683 days (4.61 years), coming as close as 2.56 AU and reaching as far as 2.98 AU from the sun. Ceres is about 939.4 kilometers in diameter, making it the largest asteroid/dwarf planet, comparable in size to the U.S. state of Alaska.

The rotation of Ceres has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 9.07 days.

Ceres's spectral type G (Tholen) / C (SMASSII) indicates that it is likely to contain nickel, iron, cobalt, water, nitrogen, and ammonia.

No Close Approaches

Ceres's orbit is 1.59 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is an extremely wide berth between this asteroid and Earth at all times.

Orbital simulations conducted by NASA JPL's CNEOS do not show any close approaches to Earth.

Images and Observations

Ceres's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Jan. 5, 1995. It was last officially observed on March 2, 2019. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 1,002 observations used to determine its orbit.

Accessibility and Exploration

This object is not considered a viable target for human exploration by the NHATS study.

Similar Objects

These objects have orbits that share similar characteristics to the orbit of Ceres:

References

Search

   or view a random object

Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2458600.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.76916515451 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.0760090291007
  • Inclination: 10.5940670442°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 80.3055315683°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 73.597694116°
  • Mean Anomaly: 77.3720958858°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 939.40000 km
  • Magnitude: 3.34
  • Albedo: 0.090
  • Spectral type (Tholen): G
  • Spectral type (SMASS): C

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,683 days (4.61 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 17.90 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 2.98 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 2.56 AU
  • Rotation Period: 9.07 days
  • Approx. Composition: nickel, iron, cobalt, water, nitrogen, and ammonia.

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Ceres is indicated by a ◯ pink circle. Note that the object may not be in your current field of view. Use the controls below to adjust position, location, and time.