Sunday, January 1, 2017
Ceres (asteroid/dwarf planet) discovered 1801
January 1, 1801, Italian astronomer Guiseppe Piazzi of Palermo discovered what he thought was a comet, but after observing it 24 more times, he realized it was an asteroid, reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006. He named it Ceres, the Roman goddess of the Harvest. It is the largest object in the asteroid belt but only 4% of our moon's mass.
NASA sent the spacecraft Dawn which reached Ceres in 2015. It is the first time Ceres has been observed up close. Dawn is still sending data on the dwarf planet.