Sunday, December 25, 2011



An asteroid is a large rock in outer space. Some, like Ceres, can be very large, while others are as small as a grain of sand. Due to their smaller size, asteroids do not have enough gravity to pull themselves into the shape of a ball.  Astronomers group asteroids into different categories based on the way they reflect sunlight.

The asteroid belt is divided into an inner belt and an outer belt. The inner belt which is made up of asteroids that are within 250 million miles (402 million km) of the Sun, contains asteroids that are made of metals.
The outer belt, which includes asteroids 250 million miles (402 million km) beyond the Sun, consists of rocky asteroids. These asteroids appear darker than the asteroids of the inner belt, and are rich in carbon.There are millions of asteroids, many thought to be the shattered remnants of planetesimals, bodies within the young Sun’s solar nebula that never grew large enough to become planets.[3] A large majority of known asteroids orbit in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter or co-orbital with Jupiter (the Jupiter Trojans). However, other orbital families exist with significant populations, including the near-Earth asteroids. Individual asteroids are classified by their characteristic spectra, with the majority falling into three main groups: C-type, S-type, and M-type. These were named after and are generally identified with carbon-rich, stony, and metallic compositions, respectively.

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