The Giants Of Our Solar System: TOP 10 Largest Asteroids Ever Recorded (Photos)

28th Jun 2024
The Giants Of Our Solar System: TOP 10 Largest Asteroids Ever Recorded (Photos)

Asteroids are the rocky remnants of our solar system’s formation that orbit the Sun. Among the millions of space rocks of all shapes and sizes, a few stand out due to their large size and unique characteristics.

These colossal bodies, residing mainly in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, range from the almost planet-like Ceres to the metal-rich Psyche. One of them even has its own moons! Each asteroid on this list holds clues to the origins of our solar system and continues to captivate scientists and space enthusiasts alike.

So, what are these TOP 10 largest asteroids, and why are they interesting? Scroll the article to learn and see their images.

1. Ceres Asteroid

Diameter: ~939 km

Discovery date: 1801

Fact: Located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Ceres is also classified as a dwarf planet. Its water vapor emissions indicate possible subsurface water ice or liquid water.

Ceres Asteroid
Approximate true-color image of Ceres. Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA / Justin Cowart

2. Vesta Asteroid

Diameter: ~525 km

Discovery date: 1807

Fact: Vesta is one of the largest objects in the asteroid belt. It has a differentiated interior and a basaltic surface. At its south pole, Vesta has a massive mountain, Rheasilvia, which is one of the tallest mountains in the solar system. Meteorites known as HED meteorites (Howardite, Eucrite, and Diogenite) found on Earth are believed to have originated from Vesta.

Vesta Asteroid
A true colour image of Vesta taken by Dawn space probe. Credits: NASA / JPL / MPS / DLR / IDA / Björn Jónsson

3. Pallas Asteroid

Diameter: ~512 km

Discovery date: 1802

Fact: Pallas has an inclined orbit compared to most other asteroid belt asteroids. It is believed to be a protoplanet, a remnant of the building blocks that formed the planets.

Pallas Asteroid
Pallas Asteroid. Credits: ESO/Vernazza et al.

4. 10 Hygiea Asteroid

Diameter: ~434 km

Discovery date: 1849

Fact: Hygiea is the fourth-largest asteroid and the largest carbonaceous asteroid in the asteroid belt. Unlike many other large asteroids, it is nearly spherical.

10 Hygiea Asteroid
A new SPHERE/VLT image of Hygiea, which could be the Solar System’s smallest dwarf planet yet. Credits: ESO/P. Vernazza et al./MISTRAL algorithm (ONERA/CNRS)

5. 704 Interamnia Asteroid

Diameter: ~350 km

Discovery date: 1910

Fact: Interamnia is one of the most massive asteroids, although not much is known about its surface composition due to limited observational data. Its name means “between the rivers,” referring to the ancient Roman name of Teramo, Italy.

Interamnia Asteroid
VLT/SPHERE/ZIMPOL deconvolved image of Interamnia taken on 2 September 2017. Credits: ESO/J. Hanuš et al.

6. Eunomia Asteroid

Diameter: ~268 km

Discovery date: 1851

Fact: Eunomia is the largest stony asteroid (S-type) and has a complex, irregular shape. Its surface shows evidence of past collisions, with numerous craters and grooves.

Eunomia Asteroid

7. 16 Psyche Asteroid

Diameter: ~226 km

Discovery date: 1852

Fact: Psyche is a unique object as it is primarily composed of metallic iron and nickel, resembling the core of a protoplanet. This asteroid is the target of NASA’s Psyche mission.

Psyche Asteroid
The artist’s impression of 16 Psyche made primarily of iron. Credit: BBC News

8. Europa Asteroid

Diameter: ~312 km

Discovery date: 1858

Fact: Not to be confused with Jupiter’s moon, Europa, the asteroid, is part of the Flora family of asteroids, which are thought to be remnants of a larger parent body.

Europa Asteroid
3D model of Europa based on lightcurve modeling. Credits: Merline et al.

9. Davida Asteroid

Diameter: ~326 km

Discovery date: 1903

Fact: Davida is one of the largest C-type asteroids, consisting mainly of carbonaceous material. Also, it is one of the more massive asteroids, with an estimated mass of about 1.7% of the total mass of the asteroid belt. Additionally, Davida’s rotation period is relatively long, taking about 5.1 hours to complete one rotation.

Davida Asteroid
Credit: VLT (Very Large Telescope)

10. 87 Sylvia Asteroid

Diameter: ~288 km

Discovery date: 1866

Fact: Sylvia is unique for having two small moons, Romulus and Remus, discovered in 2001 and 2004, respectively. Sylvia asteroid is a member of the Cybele group of asteroids, which orbit further from the Sun than the main asteroid belt.

Sylvia Asteroid and moons
An artist’s rendition of asteroid 87 Sylvia and its two moons, Romulus and Remus, the first triple asteroid discovered. Credit: Franck Marchis et al.

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