Ceres (dwarf planet)
|Epoch:||2007 Apr 10.0|
|M||Mean anomaly at the epoch.|
|n||Mean daily motion (in degrees/day).|
|a||Semimajor axis (in AU).|
|P||Orbital period (in years).|
|Perihelion||The J2000.0 argument of perihelion (in degrees).|
|Node||The J2000.0 longitude of the ascending node (in degrees).|
|Inclination||The J2000.0 inclination (in degrees).|
|H||Absolute visual magnitude.|
|G||Slope parameter. For an explanation of the H,G magnitude system refer to Application of Photometric Models to Asteroids, Bowell et al., in Asteroids II, 524-556 (published by the University of Arizona Press, ISBN 0-8165-1123-3) and the references therein.|
Ceres is a dwarf planet situated in the asteroid belt. It was classified as a dwarf planet, along with Pluto in the Kuiper belt and Eris in the scattered disc, when this new category was created by the IAU in 2006.
Ceres was discovered by Piazzi in the first days of the 19th century. Originally, on 1 January 1801, Piazzi thought that he had discovered a new comet. Only after Carl Friedrich Gauß calculated the course of the object did they find out that it was somewhere between the orbits of Mars (planet) and Jupiter. These calculations enabled Zach to find Ceres again on 11 February.
It was originally classified as a planet, albeit a strangely small one; but after the discovery of 2 Pallas, 3 Juno, 4 Vesta and other small bodies with nearby orbits, it was reclassified in 1852 as the largest asteroid, '1 Ceres', a status it maintains alongside its dwarf planethood.
On 14 January 2014, scientists examining data from the ESA Herschel space observatory announced the discovery of plumes of water vapour emanating from the surface of Ceres. It is speculated that Ceres may contain more fresh water than that of Earth, locked up in a mantle of sub-surface ice. NASA space probe Dawn is expected to arrive and map Ceres in the northern spring of 2015.
- Water detected on dwarf planet Ceres, NASA Science News, NASA, 22 January 2014. Retrieved on 20 March 2014.