This is a list of numbered minor planets in the Solar System, in numerical order. As of December 2015[ref] there are 455,144 numbered minor planets, and 246,516 unnumbered. Most are not particularly noteworthy; only 19,712 minor planets have been given names (the first nameless minor planet being number 3708). Five minor planets have been accepted as dwarf planets by the IAU, and hundreds more are likely to be dwarf planets.
The following are lists of minor planets by physical properties, orbital properties, or discovery circumstances:
Total, numbered, and named minor planets from 1995 to 2014.
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 it has been observed several times over at least 4 oppositions. 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 became subsequently lost asteroid . 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 until 2003. Only after it was rediscovered could its orbit be established and a number assigned.
^An opposition is the time when an asteroid is at its furthest apparent point from the Sun, and in this case is defined as the time when an asteroid is far enough from the Sun to be observed from the Earth. In most cases, this is about 4 to 6 months a year. Some notable asteroids are exceptions to this rule, such as 367943 Duende.