Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Top News

Science Daily: A profile of Ceres

See also

On Jan. 1, 1801, the largest asteroid and the only dwarf planet in the inner solar system, Ceres, was discovered by Giueseppe Piazzi in Sicily, an Italian Catholic priest and mathematician. Ceres was named after the Roman Goddess of growing plants and motherly love.

“The light was a little faint, and of the colour of Jupiter, but similar to many others which generally are reckoned of the eighth magnitude,” wrote Piazzi in his journal. “Therefore I had no doubt of its being any other than a fixed star.”

Scientists explain that Ceres formed approximately 4.57 billion years ago in the asteroid belt. It is a surviving protoplanet, which is a planetary embryo.

Utilizing the Titius-Bode Law that projects the position of planets utilizing mathematical equation of their Sun’s distance, astronomers conclude that Ceres is approximately 600 miles (950 km) in diameter and takes up one third of mass (9.5 x 10 to the power of 20 kg) of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists compare Ceres to the size of the state of Texas.

The surface is considerably warm and the high temperature is thought to be about -38 degrees Celsius (235 k). Furthermore, its surface is composed of water ice, carbonates and clays. Under its surface, scientists argue that it could contain an ocean of liquid water.

Although there are no signs of extraterrestrial life, some believe there could be evidence of it in the oceans of liquid water. In 2005, it was reported that astronomers hypothesized that Ceres could have more fresh water than Earth.

Ceres revolves around the sun in 1,679.82 days (4.60 years) and maintains a rotational period of 9.08 hours. The magnitude of Ceres is thought to be between six and nine. When it is at its brightest, it can be viewed by the naked eye, unless it is cloudy on Earth.

Since it has not been around for a long time, and it is easy to view by amateur astronomers, Ceres has generated quite a bit of intrigue by many.

In July, NASA’s Dawn space probe became the first craft to enter the orbit around an object between Jupiter and Mars. After four years in space and traveling 1.7 billion miles (188 million km), Dawn captured images of the Vesta asteroid. Following its one-year orbit around Vesta, it will then travel to Ceres, with an estimated arrival date of February 2015.



  •  One year later
    How victims have recovered a year after the Boston Marathon bombing
    Watch Video
  • Tax day freebies
    Everyone dreads tax day, but some businesses are offering deals today only
    Tax Day
  • Obamacare savings
    The rollout of Obamacare will cost $104 billion less than previously projected
    Top News
  • Blood Moon
    The first of four 'Blood Moons' came and went; is it the beginning of the end for mankind?
  • Arrest for threatening tweet
    A 14-year-old girl is arrested for issuing a threatening tweet towards American Airlines
    Strange News
  • Pistorius cross examination concludes
    Oscar Pistorius sheds more tears during the trial's final cross examination
    Watch Video

Related Videos:

  • 100-year-old message in a bottle found in Baltic Sea
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518149515" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Looking for Halal Food? There’s an app for that
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517289228" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • How to cope when losing or damaging your smartphone
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518053583" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!