Ceres
Number
1
Class
Dwarf Planet
Main belt asteroid
Discovery date
01.01.1801
Discovery position
24 Taurus Rx
Orbital period
4.6 years
Orbit
  • between Mars and Jupiter
  • moderately inclined (i=10.6)
Aphelion
2.982 AU
Perihelion
2.550 AU
Semimajor axis
2.767 AU
Magnitude
At certain points in its orbit, Ceres can reach a magnitude of 7.0. (under exceptional viewing conditions a very sharp-sighted person may be able to see the asteroid with the naked eye)
Diameter
950 km

Photograph copyright © Susanna Kauppinen. All rights reserved.
Photo: Copyright © Susanna Kauppinen. All rights reserved.

Mythology
Piazzi named Ceres after the Roman goddess of grain and patron goddess of Sicily, thereby starting a tradition that continues to the this day: asteroids are named by their discoverers (in contrast to comets, which are named for their discoverers).

In Roman mythology, Ceres was the goddess of growing plants (particularly cereals) and of motherly love. She was the daughter of Saturn and Ops, wife-sister of Jupiter, mother of Proserpina by Jupiter and sister of Juno, Vesta, Neptune and Pluto. She was also patron of Enna, Sicily.

Ceres
 
Our Solar System