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World Records: Space and Astronomy III

Planets play an important role in the Solar System and are one of the most basic pieces of information that is taught in schools. With ever-changing discoveries, it’s easy for the history books, as well as the record books to be written. In this article, you will learn more astronomy facts, including the largest dwarf planet and largest asteroids.  

Largest Planet in the Solar System

With an equatorial diameter of 89,405 miles and a polar diameter of 83, 082 miles, Jupiter holds the honors for being the largest planet in the Solar System. Its mass is also calculated as being 317 times the mass as Earth. Even though Jupiter is large in size, it has a very short period of rotation. Because of this, the planet has a Jovian day, which only lasts 9 hours 55 minutes and 30 seconds. This makes Jupiter the planet with the shortest planetary day in the Solar System.

Largest Dwarf Planet

A dwarf planet is a celestial body that is in orbit around the Sun, but differs from a planet because the latter must clearing the area of its orbit from debris and other objects, whereas a dwarf planet does not. This term is relatively new , created in 2006 by the International Astronomers Union. Eris (with its icy characteristics) was discovered in January 2005 and is named the largest of the dwarf planets. It possesses a highly elliptical orbit that has a distance from the Sun of between 3.4 and 9.07 billion miles. It also has a diameter of about 1,490 miles. Before Pluto underwent a reclassification as a dwarf planet, Eris was seen by many as the 10th planet of the Solar System. Eris also has a small moon (called Dysnomia), which measure about 217 miles across.

Largest Asteroid in the Asteroid Belt

Out of all the objects that are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter), Ceres is the largest, which possesses an average diameter of 584.7 miles. The asteroid was discovered by Guisseppe Piazzi in Palermo, Sicily on January 1, 1801. Ceres has also earned the classification as the smallest dwarf planet. NASA plane to visit Ceres in 2015 using the Dawn probe.

Largest Asteroid Visited by Spacecraft

In the Asteroid Belt, you will find the largest asteroid that has been visited by spacecraft. Named 253 Mathilde, it was first discovered in 1885. Measureing 41 x 29 x 28 miles, the asteroid became the third and largest of its kind to come in contact with a spacecraft. This mission took place in June 1997 and was accomplished by NASA’s NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft when it passed by it.

Source: Guinness World Records 2010