List of minor planets
|Objects in the
This is a list of numbered minor planets in the Solar System, in numerical order.
As of December 2011[ref] there are 310,376 numbered minor planets, and about as many yet unnumbered. Most are not particularly noteworthy; only some 16,000 minor planets have been given names (the first nameless minor planet being number 3708).
Numbering and naming conventions
In modern times, an asteroid receives a sequential number only after its orbit is precisely known. Asteroids whose orbits are not (yet) precisely known are known by their provisional designation. This rule was not necessarily followed in earlier times, and some asteroids received a number but were subsequently "lost". All of these have now been recovered; the last "lost" numbered asteroid was 719 Albert.
Only after a number is assigned is the asteroid eligible to receive a name. Usually the discoverer has up to 10 years to pick a name; some asteroids remain unnamed. Especially towards the end of the twentieth century, with large-scale automated asteroid discovery programs such as LINEAR, the pace of discoveries has increased so much that it seems likely that the vast majority of minor planets will never receive names.
For the reasons mentioned above, the sequence of numbers only approximately matches the timeline of discovery. In extreme cases, such as "lost" asteroids, there may be a considerable mismatch: for instance the high-numbered 69230 Hermes was originally discovered in 1937, but it was a lost asteroid until 2003. Only after it was rediscovered could its orbit be established and a number assigned.
Index to lists of minor planets
The minor planets are listed in the following:
- List of comets
- List of Solar System bodies formerly regarded as planets
- List of trans-Neptunian objects
- Meanings of minor planet names
- Minor planet (for links to articles on particular groups and families, some of which have lists)
- Minor Planet Center
- Minor-planet moon (includes list)
- Pronunciation of asteroid names
- "Minor Planet Statistics". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- "Discovery Circumstances: Numbered Minor Planets (1)-(5000)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- Lists and plots: Minor Planets
- NASA Near Earth Object Program
- PDS Asteroid Data Archive
- SBN Small Bodies Data Archive
- JPL Minor Planet Database for physical and orbital data (of any Small Solar System Body or dwarf planet)
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