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Asteroids

Asteroids are rocky, airless worlds that orbit our sun, but they are too small to be called planets. Tens of thousands of these "minor planets" are gathered in the main asteroid belt, a vast doughnut-shaped ring between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids that pass close to Earth are called Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). Asteroids are the rocky fragments left over from the formation of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Ceres used to be the largest asteroid in our solar system (926km diameter) but it has recently been classified as a dwarf planet. Vesta is one of the largest known asteroids in our solar system with a diameter of 525km. It is now the most massive as well due to Ceres being declassified as an asteroid. Vesta is the brightest asteroid visible from earth. Pallas is the largest asteroid in the solar system by diameter (544km), discounting Ceres, but its also less massive than Vesta. It was the second to be discovered after Ceres by astronomer Heinrich Olbers.