What is an asteroid?

An asteroid is a rocky body that tumbles and spins as it orbits the Sun. They are lumpy like potatoes and made up of carbon, rocks and metals. They vary in size from 10 metres to hundreds of kilometres wide. Some are so big they are considered minor planets! The four largest asteroids are Ceres, Vesta, Pallas and Hygiea. Ceres is the largest asteroid. 

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Asteroid belt

When asteroids go around the Sun, they orbit in a ring shape, this ring is called the asteroid belt. In our solar system, the asteroid belt is between the planets Mars and Jupiter and there are millions of asteroids there. 

There are some asteroids that are outside the asteroid belt, like the Trojan asteroids. Trojan asteroids share an orbit with a planet or a moon but they don’t collide with the planet. Most Trojan asteroids orbit the Sun with Jupiter.

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