Top 10 Largest Known Asteroids

One of the facts about largest known asteroids is that estimating their sizes is difficult due to their varied reflectivity (albedo), irregular shapes and small angular diameter. So we decided to compile a list of based on the data we could acquire of the largest known asteroids today.

Image Credit: Wikimedia


10. 15 Eunomia

Image Credit: Wikia

This asteroid was discovered by Annibale de Gasparis on July 29, 1851. It is one of the largest well known asteroids in the stony category. One of the facts about asteroids in the Eunomian family is that they fall within the Stony (S) category of asteroids. The Eunomian family is a large gathering of asteroids; over 5% of all asteroids in the asteroid belt belong to this family.

9. 65 Cybele

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Ernst Wilhelm Tempel named the asteroid he discovered on March 8, 1861 after Cybele the earth goddess. The approximate diameter of this asteroid, which certainly cannot be categorized amongst the more well known asteroids, is approximately 237 kilometers. Though, other estimates have given the asteroid’s diameter to be 330 kilometers.

8. 87 Sylvia

Image Credit: Berkeley

The 8th among the largest known asteroids was discovered by Norman Robert Pogson on May 16, 1866. It is a member of the Cybele group. Sylvia is also one of the more well known asteroids because it is one of the 1st asteroids known to possess a moon. This asteroid is very dark in color with a probability of having a very high primitive composition. Its mean diameter is approx. 286 km making it the 8th of largest known asteroids in terms of diameter and mass.

7. 511 Davida

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This asteroid was discovered by R.S. Dugan in May 30, 1903 and was named after David Todd (an American astronomer) noted for producing a complete set of photographs of the 1882 transit of Venus. Its approximate diameter is between 270 – 310 kilometers occupying what is estimated to be 1.5% of the asteroid belt’s total mass. It is a c-type asteroid. Among the interesting facts about asteroids is that c-type asteroids are dark in color with a carbonaceous chondrite composition.

6. 52 Europa

Image Credit: Astroasya

Also known as 1948 LA, 52 Europa was discovered by H. Gold Schmidt on 4, February 1858. This asteroid should not be confused with the other Europa, which serves as Jupiter’s moon. The mean diameter of 52 Europa is 315 kilometers. One of the facts about asteroids is that they are usually very carbonaceous. And that’s why, Europa is of a very dark composition. It is also one of the largest C-type asteroids. Temperatures on 52 Europa average 173K with the maximum temperature of 258K (-15oc)

5. 704 Interamnia

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Over a century ago, precisely 2 October 1910, Vincenzo Cerrulli discovered the asteroid Interamnia. This asteroid is a very large one whose estimated diameter is approximately 326km. Located within the asteroid belt, Interamnia occupies more than 1.2% of the entire asteroid belt’s mass. 704 Interamnia is one of the less well known asteroids – little information exists as to its internal composition or shape.

4. 10 Hygiea

Image Credit: Pics about space

Since its first discovery on 12 April 1849, Hygiea has continued to baffle scientists. With a surface area of 837,000km2 (323,000mi), Hygiea ranks as the fourth the amongst largest known asteroids in our solar system. This is so on the basis of its mass and volume. Hygiea is located in the asteroid belt in which it occupies 2.9% of the belt’s mass. Hygiea is known to have a carbonaceous surface with materials of semblance to what is found in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. Hygiea is the smallest member of the big four – largest known asteroids – so far discovered.

3. 2 Pallas

Image Credit: Universe Today

2 Pallas ranks third amongst the largest known asteroids in the solar system. The size difference between Pallas and Vesta is about 10-30% less. Pallas measures 512km or 318 miles in diameter. Pallas is one of the less well-known asteroids as the distance has made it largely inaccessible to spacecraft and Hubble images have shown pixel-to-pixel variations. Pallas surface is likely to be largely composed of silicate material.

2. Vesta

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Discovered March 29, 1807 by Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers, this asteroid measures 578 km by 458km and a mass constituting 2.67 x 1020 kilograms. The magnitude of what is certainly one of the largest known asteroids ever discovered if not the largest is +5.4 to +8.5. This can easily be revealed using binoculars at night. One of the common facts about asteroids is that they are simple cold, dead rocks floating in space. Rather, ancient lava flow has been revealed by Hubble images contradicting this view.

1. Ceres

largest known asteroids

Image Credit: The Lunar Planner

This dwarf planet lies in the orbit of Jupiter and Mars. Ceres certainly ranks first amongst the largest known asteroid. It is also one of the most well known asteroids. Its approximate diameter is 945 kilometers. This makes Ceres the largest known asteroid within the orbit of Neptune. Ceres has a mass of 8.958 x 10ˆ2kg and an orbital period of 1, 680 days.

So there you have it, a few facts about asteroids, a complete list of the largest well known asteroids and a chance to let us know what you think.

Post Author: SparkInList Staff

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