The Solar System


When did astronomers realize what asteroids were?

The first asteroids to be discovered were Ceres (1801), Pallas (1802), Juno (1804), and Vesta (1807). A few decades later, when telescope technology blossomed, the number of tiny, planet-like objects that were found orbiting between Mars and Jupiter mushroomed to dozens, then hundreds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, astronomers realized that these were “minor” planets.


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