DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Asteroids. Artwork showing a group of asteroids and the Sun (top left). Asteroids are minor, rocky bodies of the solar system ranging in size from Ceres (950 km) down to a countless number of bodies with a diameter of a few kilometres. The orbits of about 4000 asteroids have been catalogued so far, but the number of bodies larger than 1 km is thought to be greater by at least one order of magnitude. Most asteroids orbit between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter and constitute the main belt of asteroids. A small number of bodies revolve around the Sun on closer orbits, sometimes crossing the orbits of the inner planets (Mars. Earth, Venus and Mercury).
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