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If planetary scientist Bill McKinnon’s hunch is right, the largest asteroid in the solar system isn’t an asteroid at all. Ceres, as the 470-kilometer-wide object is called, may be a relative of Pluto that formed at the solar system’s fringes but came in from the cold several billion years ago.
Originally posted by Curious_Agnostic
and it's bigger than most comets and lacks a comets tail.
Who cares? Those definitions change all the time.
The tail does not come into the equation. They only appear when they get close to the sun and start 'melting' or emitting gasses. While they are in the K.Belt they are just tailess comets.
Asteroids, also called minor planets or planetoids, are Solar System bodies smaller than planets but larger than meteoroids (which are commonly defined as being 10 meters across or less), and that are not comets. The distinction between asteroids and comets is made on visual appearance when discovered: comets must show a perceptible coma (a fuzzy "atmosphere"), while asteroids do not.
Comets are small Solar System bodies that orbit the Sun and, when close enough to the Sun, exhibit a visible coma (atmosphere) or a tail — both primarily from the effects of solar radiation upon the comet's nucleus. Comet nuclei are themselves loose collections of ice, dust and small rocky particles, measuring a few kilometres or tens of kilometres across.
Originally posted by Mogget
I love it when news reporters get their facts wrong. That value of 470 kilometres is the radius of Ceres. The diameter is actually 940 kilometres.
[edit on 17-7-2008 by Mogget]
I don't understand how the hell this is isn't surprising anyone.
LOOK....Just look at a picture of it. It's spherical shape is that of a nicely formed planet and is twice as big as the largest asteroid in the system and if even vesta hurtled toward the earth, it would be nothing like any asteroid encounter we've seen. It wouldn't just destroy us... or destroy some of us, like a alleged comet supposedly destroyed most of the dinosaurs... IT WOULD DESTROY THE PLANET.
Luckily the orbit seems stable and this is not likely to happen... I'm just making a point and my point is that they have known about this thing for WAAAY too long with it looking very much like a planet for me to have never heard of it.
I'm glad it's being mentioned... but I really don't think any on ATS has put very much focus on why this is so weird that they have kinda kept this out of the loop so to speak. We could have much better pictures of Ceres than we have. The idea that this planet is covered in water and they haven't went to check it out yet, to me, is freaking unbelievable. all we've got are blurry pictures and it's closer that jupiter? Yet here have a very clear shot of vesta where you can see craters and ridges and it's much smaller but no resolution close to that on Ceres. COME ON NASA. This appears to have been deliberately left out because of size? Even as blurry as this is, it's obvious it's a planet!
I mean, is everybody getting this? there is a planet past Mars that is covered in water and has a day of over 9 hours that was originally called a planet but then declassified as a planet in books for as long as most humans have been living and of reading age.
This is WILD!
Call it whatever the hell you want but to ATS members that have not learned of this planet, you should go check it out. I think it's fair to say they are hiding something....maybe it's just to keep from fueling the idea that there could be life so close to earth... because there could be. There's water and it's cold but it's not that cold...well, it would be freezing to me but some species would be fine.
This is amazing to me and everyone should at least look at this no matter what opinion you come to because there is a planet that you have not been told about in school.edit on 7201331PM10PM29p10America/Chicago by NotAnAspie because: (no reason given)
n March of 2015, NASA's Dawn mission will arrive at the dwarf planet Ceres, the first of the smaller class of planets to be discovered and the closest to Earth. Ceres, which orbits the Sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, is a unique body in the Solar System, bearing many similarities to Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus, both considered to be potential sources for harboring life.
Ceres as seen by Hubble Space Telescope (ACS). The contrast has been enhanced to reveal surface details.