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Ceres is the largest inhabitant of the Asteroid Belt, a region of asteroids orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids are rocky objects, but are much smaller than planets.

The surface of Ceres is heavily cratered.

Image credit: Dawn, NASA.

Ceres Facts

Diameter (average): 473 kilometres, or 294 miles

Axial tilt: 4 degrees

Maximum surface temperature: -38 degrees Celsius, or -36 degrees Fahrenheit

Distance from the Sun: 414,010,000 kilometres (414 million and 10 thousand kilometres), or 257,254,000 miles (257 million, 254 thousand miles)

Rotation period (day): 9 Earth hours

Orbital period (year): 1,682 Earth days

Moons: 0

Other inhabitants of the Asteroid Belt

The Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, is estimated to contain between 1,100,000 and 1,900,000 (one million, one-hundred thousand and one million, nine-hundred thousand) asteroids, all larger than 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) in diameter. In addition, there is likely millions of other even smaller ones.


Vesta is a large irregularly-shaped asteroid with an average diameter of about 525 kilometres (325 miles). Here you can see near the centre of the image, a giant mountain, which is one of the highest mountains in the solar system,

Image credit: Dawn, NASA.


Lutetia is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) long. It orbits the Sun every 3.8 years.

Image credit: Rosetta, ESA.

Ida and moon Dactyl

Ida is an asteroid about 60 kilometres (37 miles) long. Amazingly it has a moon named Dactyl. Here Dactyl is about 90 kilometres (55 miles) away from Ida.

Image credit: Galileo, NASA.