Key Facts


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 1,680 days (4.60 years), coming as close as 2.55 AU and reaching as far as 2.99 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 hours.

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

No Close Approaches

Ceres's orbit is 1.58 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 Jan. 28, 2021. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 1,075 observations used to determine its orbit.

Accessibility and Exploration

This asteroid 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:



   or view a random object

Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2460200.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.767 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.0789
  • Inclination: 10.59°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 80.25°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 73.42°
  • Mean Anomaly: 60.08°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 939.40000 km
  • Magnitude: 3.33
  • Albedo: 0.090
  • Spectral type (Tholen): G
  • Spectral type (SMASS): C

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,680 days (4.60 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 17.92 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 2.99 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 2.55 AU
  • Rotation Period: 9.07 hours
  • Approx. Composition: water, iron, nickel, cobalt, nitrogen, and ammonia.

Map Comparison

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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.