List of minor planets
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This is a list of numbered minor planets in the Solar System, in numerical order.
As of May 2015[ref] there are about 434,000 numbered minor planets, and about 251,000 unnumbered. Most are not particularly noteworthy; only 19,135 minor planets have been given names (the first nameless minor planet being number 3708).
The following are lists of minor planets by physical properties, orbital properties, or discovery circumstances:
- Asteroids and dwarf planets
- List of unnumbered minor planets - minor planets yet to receive a numbered designation (about 1 third of minor planets as of May 2015)
- List of trans-Neptunian objects - objects whose orbit carries it beyond that of Neptune
- List of possible dwarf planets - Minor planets suspected to be massive enough to pull themselves into a sphere.
- List of dwarf planets - Pluto, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake
- List of exceptional asteroids - High-inclination, particularly large, fast and slow rotating, etc. asteroids
- List of minor planets and comets visited by spacecraft - Any minor planet or comet at one point observed or passed close to by a spacecraft
- Minor-planet moon - Asteroids with moons orbiting them
Numbering and naming conventions
After discovery, asteroids generally receive a provisional designation (such as "1989 AC"), then a sequential number (such as 4179), and finally (optionally) a name (such as "Toutatis"), in that order.
In modern times, an asteroid receives a sequential number only after its orbit is precisely known. Asteroids whose orbits are not (yet) precisely known are known by their provisional designation. This rule was not necessarily followed in earlier times, and some asteroids received a number but were subsequently "lost". All of these have now been recovered; the last "lost" numbered asteroid was 719 Albert.
Only after a number is assigned is the asteroid eligible to receive a name. Usually the discoverer has up to 10 years to pick a name; some asteroids remain unnamed. Especially towards the end of the twentieth century, with large-scale automated asteroid discovery programs such as LINEAR, the pace of discoveries has increased so much that it seems likely that the vast majority of minor planets will never receive names.
For the reasons mentioned above, the sequence of numbers only approximately matches the timeline of discovery. In extreme cases, such as "lost" asteroids, there may be a considerable mismatch: for instance the high-numbered 69230 Hermes was originally discovered in 1937, but it was a lost asteroid until 2003. Only after it was rediscovered could its orbit be established and a number assigned.
Index to lists of minor planets
The minor planets are listed in the following:
- List of comets
- List of Solar System bodies formerly regarded as planets
- List of trans-Neptunian objects
- Meanings of minor planet names
- Minor planet (for links to articles on particular groups and families, some of which have lists)
- Minor Planet Center
- Minor-planet moon (includes list)
- Pronunciation of asteroid names
- List of instrument-resolved minor planets
- List of minor planets named after people
- List of minor planets named after places
- List of notable asteroids
- How Many Solar System Bodies - JPL SBDB
- "Minor Planet Statistics". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
- "Discovery Circumstances: Numbered Minor Planets (1)-(5000)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- MPC Archive Statistics (amount of observations, orbits and names)
- MPC Discovery Circumstances (minor planets by number)
- Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, 5th ed.: Prepared on Behalf of Commission 20 Under the Auspices of the International Astronomical Union, Lutz D. Schmadel, ISBN 3-540-00238-3
- The Names of the Minor Planets, Paul Herget, 1968, OCLC 224288991
- Discovery Circumstances Numbered Minor Planets
- Lists and plots: Minor Planets
- NASA Near Earth Object Program
- PDS Asteroid Data Archive
- SBN Small Bodies Data Archive
- JPL Minor Planet Database for physical and orbital data (of any Small Solar System Body or dwarf planet)