List of minor planets
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This is a list of numbered minor planets in the Solar System, in numerical order. As of December 2015[ref] there are 455,144 numbered minor planets, and 246,516 unnumbered. Most are not particularly noteworthy; only 19,712 minor planets have been given names (the first nameless minor planet being number 3708). Five minor planets have been accepted as dwarf planets by the IAU, and hundreds more are likely to be dwarf planets.
The following are lists of minor planets by physical properties, orbital properties, or discovery circumstances:
- Asteroids and dwarf planets
- List of unnumbered minor planets – minor planets yet to receive a numbered designation (about 35% of minor planets as of December 2015)
- List of trans-Neptunian objects – objects whose orbit carries it beyond that of Neptune
- List of possible dwarf planets – minor planets suspected to be massive enough to pull themselves into a sphere.
- List of dwarf planets – Pluto, Ceres, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake
- List of exceptional asteroids – for example, asteroids with a highly inclined orbit, particularly large, fast or slowly rotating
- List of minor planets and comets visited by spacecraft – any minor planet or comet at one point observed or passed close to by a spacecraft
- Minor-planet moon – any astronomical body that orbits a minor planet as its natural satellite
Numbering and naming conventions
After discovery, asteroids generally receive a provisional designation (such as "1989 AC"), then a sequential number (such as 4179), and finally (optionally) a name (such as "Toutatis"), in that order.
In modern times, an asteroid receives a sequential number only after it has been observed several times over at least 4 oppositions. 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 became subsequently lost asteroid . 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 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
- List of instrument-resolved minor planets
- List of minor planets named after people
- List of minor planets named after places
- List of notable asteroids
- "Minor Planet Statistics". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2015-12-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Discovery Circumstances: Numbered Minor Planets (1)-(5000)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2015-12-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- An opposition is the time when an asteroid is at its furthest apparent point from the Sun, and in this case is defined as the time when an asteroid is far enough from the Sun to be observed from the Earth. In most cases, this is about 4 to 6 months a year. Some notable asteroids are exceptions to this rule, such as 367943 Duende.
- MPC Archive Statistics (amount of observations, orbits and names)
- MPC Discovery Circumstances (minor planets by number)
- Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, 5th ed.: Prepared on Behalf of Commission 20 Under the Auspices of the International Astronomical Union, Lutz D. Schmadel, ISBN 3-540-00238-3
- The Names of the Minor Planets, Paul Herget, 1968, OCLC 224288991