1. Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun.
There are over 900.000 confirmed asteroids in the Solar System, and more and more are found each day.
2. The first asteroid was Ceres.
Giuseppe Piazzi discovered it in 1801.
3. When an asteroid hits the earth’s surface its called a meteorite.
Each day, more than 100 tons of material from asteroids and comets fall toward the earth. Most of it is destroyed by friction as it passes through our atmosphere. If something does hit the ground, it is known as a meteorite.
4. There is a region in space where most asteroids are situated.
It is called the asteroid belt – a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
5. The dwarf planet Ceres is also an asteroid.
It is one of the biggest one found ever. As well as being the first asteroid discovered, Ceres is also the largest known asteroid at 933 kilometers across. The smallest known asteroid, 1991 BA, is only 6 meters across.
6. An asteroid impact around 65 million years ago caused a chain reaction.
This led to the extinction of the dinosaurs and affected all life on earth, according to scientists.
7. An asteroid can have rings.
An asteroid named Chariklo was found to have rings; scientists made the surprise discovery in 2013. It had two rings, according to reports.
8. Asteroids are classified based on how much light they reflect and their chemical composition.
Asteroids are generally categorized into three types: carbon-rich, silicate, or metallic, or some combination of the three.
9. Asteroids are also referred to as minor planets or planetoids.
Asteroids are too small to support life as we know them today. Despite their small size, water may flow on asteroid surfaces.
10. We have flown by, orbited, and even landed on asteroids.
NASA says there are more than ten spacecraft that accomplished at least one of these.
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