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The largest asteroids in the Solar System reside in the Asteroid belt. Asteroids are given a unique sequential identifying number once their orbit is precisely determined. Prior to this, they are known only by their systematic name or provisional designation, such as 1950 DA.

The number of bodies grows rapidly as the size decreases. Based on IRAS data there are about 140 main-belt asteroids with a diameter greater than 120 km.[1] For a more complete list, see List of Solar System objects by size. The inner asteroid belt (defined as the region interior to the 3:1 Kirkwood gap at 2.50 AU) has few large asteroids. 4 Vesta, 19 Fortuna, 6 Hebe, 7 Iris and 9 Metis orbit there.

Asteroids have irregular shapes, varying albedo, and small angular diameter. Pure C-type asteroids are much darker than most. Asteroids with only one or two axes measured may have a falsely inflated geometric mean diameter if the unknown second or third axis is significantly smaller than the primary axis. Asteroid 16 Psyche has an IRAS diameter of 253 km, yet has a more recent and accurate geometric mean of only 186 km.

Name Diameter (km)
(geometric mean)
Dimensions (km) Mean distance
from Sun (in AU)
Date discovered Discoverer Class
Ceres 946±2 965×962×891 2.766 January 1, 1801 Piazzi, G. G
Vesta 525.4±0.2 572.6 × 557.2 × 446.4 ± 0.2 2.362 March 29, 1807 Olbers, H. W. V
Pallas 512±3 550±4 × 516±3 × 476±3 km[2] 2.773 March 28, 1802 Olbers, H. W. B
Hygiea 431±7 530×407×370 3.139 April 12, 1849 de Gasparis, A. C
704 Interamnia 326 350×304 3.062 October 2, 1910 Cerulli, V. F
52 Europa 315 380×330×250 3.095 February 4, 1858 Goldschmidt, H. C
511 Davida 289 357×294×231 3.168 May 30, 1903 Dugan, R. S. C
87 Sylvia 286 385×265×230 3.485 May 16, 1866 Pogson, N. R. X
65 Cybele 273 302×290×232 3.439 March 8, 1861 Tempel, E. W. C
15 Eunomia 268 357×255×212 2.643 July 29, 1851 de Gasparis, A. S
3 Juno 258 320×267×200 2.672 September 1, 1804 Harding, K. L. S
31 Euphrosyne 256 3.149 September 1, 1854 Ferguson, J. C
624 Hektor 241 370×195(×195) 5.235 February 10, 1907 Kopff, A. D
88 Thisbe 232 221×201×168 2.769 June 15, 1866 Peters, C. H. F. B
324 Bamberga 229 2.684 February 25, 1892 Palisa, J. C
451451 Patientia 225 3.059 December 4, 1899 Charlois, A.
532 Herculina 222 2.772 April 20, 1904 Wolf, M. S
48 Doris 222 278×142 3.108 September 19, 1857 Goldschmidt, H. C
375 Ursula 216 3.126 September 18, 1893 Charlois, A.
107 Camilla 215 285×205×170 3.476 November 17, 1868 Pogson, N. R. C
45 Eugenia 213 305×220×145 2.720 June 27, 1857 Goldschmidt, H. F
7 Iris 213 240×200×200 2.386 August 13, 1847 Hind, J. R. S
29 Amphitrite 212 233×212×193 2.554 March 1, 1854 Marth, A. S
423 Diotima 209 171×138 3.065 December 7, 1896 Charlois, A. C
19 Fortuna 208 225×205×195 2.442 August 22, 1852 Hind, J. R. G
13 Egeria 206 217×196 2.576 November 2, 1850 de Gasparis, A. G
24 Themis 198 3.136 April 5, 1853 de Gasparis, A. C
94 Aurora 197 225×173 3.160 September 6, 1867 Watson, J. C. C
702 Alauda 195 3.195 July 16, 1910 Helffrich, J.
121 Hermione 190 268×186×183 3.457 May 12, 1872 Watson, J. C. C
259 Aletheia 190 3.135 June 28, 1886 Peters, C. H. F. CP/X
372 Palma 189 3.149 August 19, 1893 Charlois, A.
128 Nemesis 188 2.751 November 25, 1872 Watson, J. C. C
6 Hebe 186 205x185x170 2.426 July 1, 1847 Hencke, K. L. S
16 Psyche 186 240×185×145 2.924 March 17, 1852 de Gasparis, A. M
120 Lachesis 174 3.301 April 10, 1872 Borrelly, A. C
41 Daphne 174 213x160 2.765 May 22, 1856 Goldschmidt, H. C
9 Metis 174 222x182x130 2.385 April 25, 1848 Graham, A. S

ReferencesEdit

  1. "JPL Small-Body Database Search Engine: asteroids and orbital class (IMB or MBA or OMB) and diameter > 120 (km)". JPL's Solar System Dynamics Group. http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb_query.cgi?obj_group=all;obj_kind=ast;obj_numbered=all;ast_orbit_class=IMB;ast_orbit_class=MBA;ast_orbit_class=OMB;OBJ_field=0;ORB_field=0;c1_group=OBJ;c1_item=Ap;c1_op=%3E;c1_value=120;table_format=HTML;max_rows=500;format_option=comp;c_fields=AcApAiBhBgBjBiBnBs;.cgifields=format_option;.cgifields=ast_orbit_class;.cgifields=table_format;.cgifields=obj_kind;.cgifields=obj_group;.cgifields=obj_numbered;.cgifields=com_orbit_class&query=1&c_sort=ApD. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  2. Carry, B. (2009). "Physical properties of (2) Pallas" (PDF). http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0912/0912.3626v1.pdf. Retrieved 13 September 2015.