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The truth about Ceres?
By Kieran Mynott, your guide to the dark skies of Tenerife.

Welcome back for another ASTRO Blog.

Today I was reading up on the little known about Dwarf Planet CERES.  So I thought I would share my findings with you as it seems quite interesting.

Ceres was found by an astronomer searching for a star. He thought he found a comet, but with the help of other astronomers decided it was a planet. As more objects were found between Mars and Jupiter, scientists decided Ceres should be called an asteroid—the largest in the region we now call the main asteroid belt. Then, in 2006, Ceres was reclassified as a dwarf planet—the closest one to Earth.

Dwarf planet Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and the only dwarf planet located in the inner solar system. It was the first member of the asteroid belt to be discovered when Giuseppe Piazzi spotted it in 1801. And when Dawn arrived in 2015, Ceres became the first dwarf planet to receive a visit from a spacecraft.

Called an asteroid for many years, Ceres is so much bigger and so different from its rocky neighbors that scientists classified it as a dwarf planet in 2006. Even though Ceres comprises 25 percent of the asteroid belt’s total mass, tiny Pluto is still 14 times more massive.

Ceres is named for the Roman goddess of corn and harvests. The word cereal comes from the same name.

“In the age of acorns, before the times of Ceres, a single barley corn had more value to all mankind, than all the diamonds of the mines of India.”

  • Henry Brooke

Ceres is the only object in the asteroid belt known to be rounded by its own gravity (though detailed analysis was required to exclude Vesta). From Earth, the apparent magnitude of Ceres ranges from 6.7 to 9.3, peaking once in opposition every 15 to 16 months (its synodic period); thus even at its brightest, it appears too dim to be seen by the naked eye, except under extremely dark skies.

TEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CERES!

  1. SMALL WORLD; Ceres’ radius is just 296 miles (476 km). If Earth were the size of a nickel, Ceres would be about as big as a poppy seed.
  2. ORBITS THE SUN; Ceres takes 1,682 Earth days, or 4.6 Earth years, to make one trip around the sun.
  3. SEIZE THE DAY; Ceres completes one rotation around its axis every 9 hours.
  4. NO LONGER AN ASTEROID; Ceres is so much bigger and so different from its neighbours that scientists classified it as a dwarf planet in 2006.
  5. ATMOSPHERE; There’s no evidence of an atmosphere on Ceres, only sporadic water vapor—possibly from ice ejected by small impacts.
  6. MOONLESS; Ceres does not have any moons.
  7. RINGSLESS; Ceres does not have any rings.
  8. FIRST DWARF PLANET VISITED BY SPACECRAFT; Dawn reached it in 2015 to study its surface, composition and history.
  9. POTENTIAL FOR LIFE? Scientists would like to search for possible signs of life on Ceres. It has something many other planets don’t: water.
  10. FOOD FOR THOUGHT; Ceres is named for the Roman goddess of grain crops and harvests. The word cereal comes from the same name.

I hope you found this as interesting as I have writing it.  Keep an eye out for some new products and updates on our current tours coming soon to Dark Skies Tenerife Guide!

Until next time this is Kieran signing off.

Any questions please leave a comment or email me at reservations@darkskiestenerifeguide.com

Kieran.

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