List of notable asteroids
The following is a collection of lists of notable asteroids in the Solar System. For the purposes of this article 'asteroid' means minor planet up to the orbit of Jupiter, which includes the dwarf planet Ceres. For a complete list of minor planets in numerical order, see List of minor planets.
Note: each asteroid is given a unique sequential identifying number after its orbit is precisely determined. Prior to this, asteroids are known only by their systematic name or provisional designation, such as "1950 DA".
- 1 Largest by diameter
- 2 Largest by mass
- 3 Brightest from Earth
- 4 Retrograde and highly inclined
- 5 Landmark asteroids
- 6 Spacecraft targets
- 7 Numbered minor planets that are also comets
- 8 Minor planets that were misnamed and renamed
- 9 Record-setting close approaches to Earth
- 10 Exceptionally slow-rotating objects
- 11 Fastest rotating objects
- 12 See also
- 13 Books
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Largest by diameter
Estimating the sizes of asteroids from observations is difficult due to their irregular shapes, varying albedo (reflectivity), and small angular diameter. For example pure C-type asteroids are much darker than most. Asteroids with only one or two axes measured may have a falsely inflated geometric mean diameter if the unknown second and/or third axis is noticeably smaller than the primary axis. Asteroid 16 Psyche has an IRAS diameter of 253 km, yet has a more recent and accurate geometric mean of only 186 km.
|Dimensions (km)||Mean Distance
from Sun (in AU)
|0011 Ceres||952||975×975×909||2.766||January 1, 1801||Piazzi, G.||G|
|0022 Pallas||544||582×556×500||2.773||March 28, 1802||Olbers, H. W.||B|
|0044 Vesta||525||573×557×446||2.362||March 29, 1807||Olbers, H. W.||V|
|01010 Hygiea||431||530×407×370||3.139||April 12, 1849||de Gasparis, A.||C|
|704704 Interamnia||326||350×304||3.062||October 2, 1910||Cerulli, V.||F|
|05252 Europa||315||380×330×250||3.095||February 4, 1858||Goldschmidt, H.||C|
|511511 Davida||289||357×294×231||3.168||May 30, 1903||Dugan, R. S.||C|
|08787 Sylvia||286||385×265×230||3.485||May 16, 1866||Pogson, N. R.||X|
|06565 Cybele||273||302×290×232||3.439||March 8, 1861||Tempel, E. W.||C|
|01515 Eunomia||268||357×255×212||2.643||July 29, 1851||de Gasparis, A.||S|
|0033 Juno||258||320×267×200||2.672||September 1, 1804||Harding, K. L.||S|
|03131 Euphrosyne||256||3.149||September 1, 1854||Ferguson, J.||C|
|624624 Hektor||241||370×195(×195)||5.235||February 10, 1907||Kopff, A.||D|
|08888 Thisbe||232||221×201×168||2.769||June 15, 1866||Peters, C. H. F.||B|
|324324 Bamberga||229||2.684||February 25, 1892||Palisa, J.||C|
|451451 Patientia||225||3.059||December 4, 1899||Charlois, A.|
|532532 Herculina||222||2.772||April 20, 1904||Wolf, M.||S|
|04848 Doris||222||278×142||3.108||September 19, 1857||Goldschmidt, H.||C|
|375375 Ursula||216||3.126||September 18, 1893||Charlois, A.|
|107107 Camilla||215||285×205×170||3.476||November 17, 1868||Pogson, N. R.||C|
|04545 Eugenia||213||305×220×145||2.720||June 27, 1857||Goldschmidt, H.||F|
|0077 Iris||213||240×200×200||2.386||August 13, 1847||Hind, J. R.||S|
|02929 Amphitrite||212||233×212×193||2.554||March 1, 1854||Marth, A.||S|
|423423 Diotima||209||171×138||3.065||December 7, 1896||Charlois, A.||C|
|01919 Fortuna||208||225×205×195||2.442||August 22, 1852||Hind, J. R.||G|
|01313 Egeria||206||217×196||2.576||November 2, 1850||de Gasparis, A.||G|
|02424 Themis||198||3.136||April 5, 1853||de Gasparis, A.||C|
|09494 Aurora||197||225×173||3.160||September 6, 1867||Watson, J. C.||C|
|702702 Alauda||195||3.195||July 16, 1910||Helffrich, J.|
|121121 Hermione||190||268×186×183||3.457||May 12, 1872||Watson, J. C.||C|
|372372 Palma||189||3.149||August 19, 1893||Charlois, A.|
|128128 Nemesis||188||2.751||November 25, 1872||Watson, J. C.||C|
|0066 Hebe||186||205x185x170||2.426||July 1, 1847||Hencke, K. L.||S|
|01616 Psyche||186||240×185×145||2.924||March 17, 1852||de Gasparis, A.||M|
|120120 Lachesis||174||3.301||April 10, 1872||Borrelly, A.||C|
|04141 Daphne||174||213x160||3.517||May 22, 1856||Goldschmidt, H.||C|
|0099 Metis||174||222x182x130||2.385||April 25, 1848||Graham, A.||S|
The number of bodies grows rapidly as the size decreases. Based on IRAS data there are about 140 main-belt asteroids with a diameter greater than 120 km. For a more complete list, see List of Solar System objects by size.
The inner asteroid belt (defined as the region interior to the 3:1 Kirkwood gap at 2.50 AU) has few large asteroids. Of those in the above list, only 4 Vesta, 19 Fortuna, 6 Hebe, 7 Iris and 9 Metis orbit there.
Largest by mass
Below are the nineteen most-massive measured asteroids. The masses of asteroids are calculated from perturbations caused by Mars and other asteroids. Different sets of astrometric observations lead to different mass determinations; the biggest problem is accounting for the aggregate perturbations caused by all of the smaller asteroids.
|1 Ceres||946||0.15% (945–947)|
|4 Vesta||259.076||0.0004% (259.075–259.077)|
|2 Pallas||201||6.4% (188–214)|
|10 Hygiea||86.7||1.7% (85.2–88.4)|
|31 Euphrosyne||58.1||34% (38.4–77.8)|
|704 Interamnia||38.8||4.6% (37.0–40.6)|
|511 Davida||37.7||5.2% (35.7–39.7)|
|532 Herculina||33||17% (27–39)|
|15 Eunomia||31.8||0.9% (31.5–32.1)|
|3 Juno||28.6||16% (24.0–33.2)|
|16 Psyche||22.7||3.7% (21.9–23.5)|
|52 Europa||22.7||7% (21.1–24.3)|
|88 Thisbe||18.3||6% (17.2–19.4)|
|7 Iris||16.2||5.6% (15.3–17.1)|
|13 Egeria||16||27% (12–20)|
|29 Amphitrite||15.2||4% (14.8–15.6)|
|87 Sylvia||14.78||0.4% (14.72–14.84)|
|48 Doris||12||50% (6–18)|
(All the data above are from Baer et al. 2011, apart from 48 Doris and 532 Herculina, which are Kochetova, 2004.)
Significant uncertainties remain. For example, the uncertainty in the estimate of 31 Euphrosyne is enough for its low end to overlap with both 704 Interamnia and 511 Davida, which overlap each other and also with 532 Herculina, which overlaps with 15 Eunomia and 3 Juno. Juno barely overlaps 52 Europa, which in turn overlaps with 16 Psyche. That is, outside the top four, the order of all the asteroids is uncertain. However, none of the lesser asteroids, of which the most massive are thought to be 88 Thisbe (at 17–19×1018 kg), 7 Iris, 29 Amphitrite and 48 Doris (all in the range of ≈15×1018 kg), overlap with Europa or Psyche, so the first 12 asteroids in the chart above are likely to be the top dozen unless a hitherto unmeasured asteroid proves to be unexpectedly massive.
The largest asteroid with an accurately measured mass, due to the fact that it has been visited by the probe Dawn, is 4 Vesta at 259.076±0.001×1018 kg. The second-largest asteroid with an accurately measured mass, due to the fact that it has a moon, is 87 Sylvia at 14.78±0.06×1018 kg.
Brightest from Earth
Only Vesta regularly attains a brightness sufficient to be visible to the naked eye. The following asteroids can all reach an apparent magnitude brighter than or equal to the +8.3 attained by Saturn's moon Titan at its brightest, which was discovered 145 years before the first asteroid was found owing to its closeness to the easily observed Saturn.
None of the asteroids in the outer part of the asteroid belt can ever attain this brightness. Even Hygiea and Interamnia rarely reach magnitudes of above 10.0. This is due to the different distribution of spectral types within different sections of the asteroid belt being such that the highest-albedo asteroids are all concentrated closer to Mars, and much lower albedo C and D types being common in the outer belt.
Those asteroids with very high eccentricities will only reach their maximum magnitude on unusual occasions when their perihelion is very close to a heliocentric conjunction with Earth, or (in the case of 99942 Apophis) when the asteroid passes very close to the Earth.
|433 Eros||6.8||1.458||0.222725||34 × 11 × 11||1898|
Retrograde and highly inclined
Minor planets with orbital inclinations greater than 90° and less than 270° orbit in a retrograde direction. As of February 2011[update], of the 540,000+ minor planets known, there were only 36 retrograde minor planets. By July 2013 that number had increased to 50 objects. In comparison, there are over 1850 comets with retrograde orbits. This makes retrograde minor planets the rarest group of all. High-inclination asteroids are either Mars-crossers (possibly in the process of being ejected from the Solar System) or damocloids. Some of these are temporarily captured in retrograde resonance with the gas giants. 
|1999 LE31||151.867°||June 12, 1999||A damocloid, Jupiter- and Saturn-crossing minor planet.|
|2000 DG8||129.381°||February 25, 2000||A damocloid and SDO. Crosses all the outer planets except Neptune. Came within 0.03 AU of Ceres in 1930.|
|2002 CE10||145.453°||February 6, 2002||Later reclassified as comet P/2002 CE10 (LINEAR 34).|
|(65407) 2002 RP120||119.112°||September 4, 2002||This outer-planet crosser is a damocloid and SDO.|
|2004 NN8||165.377°||July 13, 2004||Came within 0.80 AU of Saturn on 2007-Jun-05|
|2005 NP82||130.595°||July 6, 2005|
|2005 SB223||091.419°||September 30, 2005||Has a well-determined orbit with a data arc of 244 days (Uncertainty Parameter=1)|
|2005 VX3||112.471°||November 1, 2005||Semi-major axis of 837AU, but has a somewhat short 81-day observation arc for such a large orbit|
|2006 BZ8||165.272°||January 23, 2006|
|2006 EX52||150.260°||March 5, 2006||q=2.58 AU and period=274 yr|
|2006 GZ2||168.331°||April 7, 2006||Later reclassified as comet C/2006 GZ2 (Spacewatch).|
|2006 LM1||172.137°||June 3, 2006||Has a data arc of only 2 days (Uncertainty Parameter=E), but has a very high inclination|
|2006 RG1||133.315°||September 1, 2006||Has an orbit with a data arc of 25 days (Uncertainty Parameter=4)|
|2007 VA85||131.768°||November 4, 2007||Near-Earth object that makes approaches to Jupiter and Earth.|
|2009 HC82||154.649°||April 29, 2009||NEO that has the highest relative velocity to the Earth (282,900 km/hr) of objects that come within 0.5 AU of the Earth.|
|2010 BK118||143.926°||January 30, 2010||Semi-major axis of 408 AU with perihelion at 6.1 AU in April 2012 (1 year data arc)|
|2010 NV1||140.777°||July 2, 2010||Perihelion at 9.4 AU, only 2008 KV42 has perihelion further out (154 day data arc)|
|1373 Cincinnati||38.949°||August 8, 1935||First main-belt asteroid discovered to have an inclination greater than 2 Pallas.|
|(88043) 2000 UE110||51.998°||October 29, 2000||First main-belt asteroid discovered and numbered to have an inclination greater than 50°.|
|(5496) 1973 NA||67.999°||July 4, 1973||A Mars-crosser and near-Earth object.|
|2001 AU43||72.132°||January 4, 2001||A Mars-crosser and near-Earth object.|
|(127546) 2002 XU93||77.904°||December 4, 2002||A damocloid and SDO. It is almost a Uranus outer-grazer.|
|2003 EH1||70.790°||March 6, 2003||A Mars-crosser, near-Earth object and Jupiter inner-grazer.|
|2004 LG||70.725°||June 9, 2004||A Mercury- through Mars-crosser and near-Earth object.|
|2010 OA101||84.426°||July 17, 2010||Outer main-belt asteroid with a semi-major axis of 4.5 AU and an inclination of 84°. (54 day data arc)|
|5 Astraea||117||December 8, 1845||First asteroid discovered after original four (38 years later)|
|87 Sylvia||261||May 16, 1866||First asteroid known to have more than one moon (determined in 2005)|
|90 Antiope||80×80||October 1, 1866||Double asteroid with two nearly equal components; its double nature was discovered using adaptive optics in 2000|
|92 Undina||126||1867 July 7||Created in one of the largest asteroid-on-asteroid collisions of the past 100 million years|
|216 Kleopatra||217×94||April 10, 1880||Metallic asteroid with "dog-bone" shape and 2 satellites|
|243 Ida||56×24×21||September 29, 1884||First asteroid known to have a moon (determined in 1993)|
|243 Ida I Dactyl||1.4||February 17, 1994||Moon of 243 Ida, first confirmed satellite of an asteroid|
|279 Thule||127||October 25, 1888||Orbits in the asteroid belt's outermost edge in a 3:4 orbital resonance with Jupiter|
|288 Glauke||32||February 20, 1890||Exceptionally slow rotation period of about 1200 hours (2 months)|
|323 Brucia||36||December 22, 1891||First asteroid discovered by means of astrophotography rather than visual observation|
|433 Eros||13×13×33||August 13, 1898||First near-Earth asteroid discovered and the second largest; first asteroid to be detected by radar|
|490 Veritas||115||1902 September 3||Created in one of the largest asteroid-on-asteroid collisions of the past 100 million years|
|624 Hektor||370×195||February 10, 1907||Largest Jovian trojan asteroid discovered|
|719 Albert||2.4||October 3, 1911||Last numbered asteroid to be lost then recovered|
|1125 China||October 30, 1957||First asteroid discovery to be credited to an institution rather than a person|
|1566 Icarus||1.4||June 27, 1949||Apollo class asteroid; perihelion is closer to the Sun than Mercury|
|1902 Shaposhnikov||97||April 18, 1972||The most recent main-belt asteroid discovered that is ~100+ km in diameter|
|2063 Bacchus||1.1×1.1×2.6||April 24, 1977|
|3200 Phaethon||5||October 11, 1983||First asteroid discovered from space; source of Geminids meteor shower.|
|3753 Cruithne||5||October 10, 1986||Unusual Earth-associated orbit|
|4179 Toutatis||4.5×2.4×1.9||January 4, 1989||Closely approached Earth on September 29, 2004|
|4769 Castalia||1.8×0.8||August 9, 1989||First asteroid to be radar-imaged in sufficient detail for 3D modeling|
|5261 Eureka||~2–4||June 20, 1990||First Martian trojan asteroid (Lagrangian point L5) discovered|
|11885 Summanus||September 25, 1990||First automated discovery of a near-Earth object (NEO)|
|(29075) 1950 DA||1.1||February 23, 1950||Will approach Earth very closely in 2880, collision possibility|
|99942 Apophis||0.3||June 19, 2004||First asteroid to rank greater than one on the Torino Scale (it was ranked at 2, then 4; now down to 0). Previously better known by its provisional designation 2004 MN4.|
|1997 XR2||0.23||December 4, 1997||First asteroid to rank greater than zero on the impact-risk Torino Scale (it was ranked 1; now at 0)|
|1998 KY26||0.030||June 2, 1998||Approached within 800,000 km of Earth|
|2002 AA29||0.1||January 9, 2002||Unusual Earth-associated orbit|
|2004 FH||0.030||March 15, 2004||Discovered before it approached within 43,000 km of Earth on March 18, 2004.|
|2008 HJ||.024x.012||April 24, 2008||Asteroid with fastest rotation: 42.7 seconds|
|2008 TC3||~0.003||October 6, 2008||First Earth-impactor to be spotted before impact (on October 7, 2008)|
|2010 TK7||~0.3||October 2010||First Earth trojan asteroid to be discovered|
Numbered minor planets that are also comets
|4015 Wilson–Harrington||107P/Wilson–Harrington||In 1992, it was realized that asteroid 1979 VA's orbit matched it with the positions of the lost comet Wilson-Harrington (1949 III)|
|7968 Elst–Pizarro||133P/Elst–Pizarro||Discovered in 1996 as a comet, but orbitally matched to asteroid 1979 OW7|
|118401 LINEAR||176P/LINEAR (LINEAR 52)||Main-belt comet-asteroid discovered to have a coma on November 26, 2005|
Note there are quite a few other cases where a non-numbered asteroid with only a systematic designation (such as 2001 OG108) turned out to be a comet (in this case C/2001 OG108 (LONEOS)). The above table lists only numbered asteroids that are also comets.
Minor planets that were misnamed and renamed
In earlier times, before the modern numbering and naming rules were in effect, asteroids were sometimes given numbers and names before their orbits were precisely known. And in a few cases duplicate names were given to the same object (with modern use of computers to calculate and compare orbits with old recorded positions, this type of error no longer occurs). This led to a few cases where asteroids had to be renamed.
|330 Adalberta||An object discovered March 18, 1892 by Max Wolf with provisional designation "1892 X" was named 330 Adalberta, but was lost and never recovered. In 1982 it was determined that the observations leading to the designation of 1892 X were stars, and the object never existed. The name and number 330 Adalberta was then reused for another asteroid discovered by Max Wolf on February 2, 1910, which had the provisional designation A910 CB.|
|525 Adelaide||The object A904 EB discovered March 14, 1904 by Max Wolf was named 525 Adelaide and was subsequently lost. Later, the object 1930 TA discovered October 3, 1930 by Sylvain Arend was named 1171 Rusthawelia. In those pre-computer days, it was not realized until 1958 that these were one and the same object. The name Rusthawelia was kept (and discovery credited to Arend); the name 525 Adelaide was reused for the object 1908 EKa discovered October 21, 1908 by Joel Hastings Metcalf.|
|715 Transvaalia and 933 Susi||The object 1911 LX discovered April 22, 1911 by H. E. Wood was named 715 Transvaalia. On April 23, 1920, the object 1920 GZ was discovered and named 933 Susi. In 1928 it was realized that these were one and the same object. The name Transvaalia was kept, and the name and number 933 Susi was reused for the object 1927 CH discovered February 10, 1927 by Karl Reinmuth.|
|864 Aase and 1078 Mentha||The object A917 CB discovered February 13, 1917 by Max Wolf was named 864 Aase, and the object 1926 XB discovered December 7, 1926 by Karl Reinmuth was named 1078 Mentha. In 1958 it was discovered that these were one and the same object. In 1974, this was resolved by keeping the name 1078 Mentha and reusing the name and number 864 Aase for the object 1921 KE, discovered September 30, 1921 by Karl Reinmuth.|
|1095 Tulipa and 1449 Virtanen||The object 1928 DC discovered February 24, 1928 by Karl Reinmuth was named 1095 Tulipa, and the object 1938 DO discovered February 20, 1938 by Yrjö Väisälä was named 1449 Virtanen. In 1966 it was discovered that these were one and the same object. The name 1449 Virtanen was kept and the name and number 1095 Tulipa was reused for the object 1926 GS discovered April 14, 1926 by Karl Reinmuth.|
|1125 China and 3789 Zhongguo||The object 1928 UF discovered October 25, 1928 by Zhang Yuzhe (Y. C. Chang) was named 1125 China, and was later lost. Later, the object 1957 UN1 was discovered on October 30, 1957 at Purple Mountain Observatory and was initially incorrectly believed to be the rediscovery of the object 1928 UF. The name and number 1125 China were then reused for the object 1957 UN1, and 1928 UF remained lost. In 1986, the object 1986 QK1 was discovered and proved to be the real rediscovery of 1928 UF. This object was given the new number and name 3789 Zhongguo. Note Zhongguo is the Mandarin Chinese word for "China", in pinyin transliteration.|
|Asteroid 1317||The object 1914 UQ discovered April 20, 1914 by G. N. Neujmin was named 787 Moskva (and retains that name to this day). The object 1934 FD discovered on March 19, 1934 by C. Jackson was given the sequence number 1317. In 1938, G. N. Neujmin found that asteroid 1317 and 787 Moskva were one and the same object. The sequence number 1317 was later reused for the object 1935 RC discovered on September 1, 1935 by Karl Reinmuth; that object is now known as 1317 Silvretta.|
Record-setting close approaches to Earth
Exceptionally slow-rotating objects
Rotation periods have been determined for only a small fraction of asteroids (from light curves or from radar studies). Most asteroids have rotation periods of less than 24 hours. There are 14 objects suspected of having a rotation period greater than 30 days (720 hours). Asteroids larger than 150 meters usually have rotation periods longer than 2 hours.
|(38071) 1999 GU3||216|
|(65407) 2002 RP120||200|
See also: Minor Planet Lightcurve Parameters
Fastest rotating objects
Asteroids smaller than 150 meters usually have rotation periods shorter than 2 hours.
- List of Solar System objects by size
- List of numbered Aten asteroids
- List of asteroids named after people
- List of asteroids named after places
- List of Apollo asteroids
- List of Amor asteroids
- Centaur (minor planet)
- Scattered disk objects
- List of asteroids with moons
- List of Mercury-crossing minor planets
- List of Venus-crossing minor planets
- List of Earth-crossing minor planets
- List of Mars-crossing minor planets
- List of Jupiter-crossing minor planets
- List of Saturn-crossing minor planets
- List of Uranus-crossing minor planets
- List of Neptune-crossing minor planets
- List of instrument-resolved minor planets
- List of meteor air bursts
- 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
- Savage, Don; Jones, Tammy; Villard, Ray (1995). "Asteroid or Mini-Planet? Hubble Maps the Ancient Surface of Vesta". Hubble Site News Release STScI-1995-20. Retrieved 2006-10-17.
- "JPL Small-Body Database Search Engine: asteroids and orbital class (IMB or MBA or OMB) and diameter > 120 (km)". JPL's Solar System Dynamics Group. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
- "Recent Asteroid Mass Determinations". Maintained by Jim Baer. Last updated 2010-12-12. Access date 2011-09-02.
- Baer, James; Steven R. Chesley (2008). "Astrometric masses of 21 asteroids, and an integrated asteroid ephemeris" (PDF). Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy (Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007) 100 (2008): 27–42. Bibcode:2008CeMDA.100...27B. doi:10.1007/s10569-007-9103-8. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
- Pitjeva, E. V. (2004). "Estimations of masses of the largest asteroids and the main asteroid belt from ranging to planets, Mars orbiters and landers". 35th COSPAR Scientific Assembly. Held 18–25 July 2004, in Paris, France. p. 2014. Bibcode:2004cosp.meet.2014P.
- Michalak, G. (2001). "Determination of asteroid masses". Astronomy & Astrophysics 374 (2): 703–711. Bibcode:2001A&A...374..703M. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20010731. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
- Michalak, G. (2001), assumed masses of perturbing asteroids used in calculations of perturbations of the test asteroids.
- "(99942) Apophis Ephemerides for 13 Apr 2029". NEODyS (Near Earth Objects - Dynamic Site). Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "(99942) Apophis Ephemerides for 13 Apr 2029". Minor Planet Center Ephemeris Service - Dynamic Site).
- "Minor Planet Center". Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- Morais, M.H.M.; F. Namouni. "Asteroids in retrograde resonance with Jupiter and Saturn". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters (in press). arXiv:1308.0216.
- 1999 LE31 approaches to Jupiter and Saturn
- 2008 DG8 and Ceres in 1930
- 2007 VA85 and Jupiter/Earth
- "1994 Release #9412" (Press release). NASA. 1994-02-18. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- Lists and plots: Minor Planets
- PDS Asteroid Data Archive
- SBN Small Bodies Data Archive
- NASA Near Earth Object Program
- Major News About Minor Objects