Ceres

The proper term to acknowledge this celestial body is ‘Dwarf planet.’ However the debate still proceeds on whether the current terms stays or goes because Ceres is located in the Asteroid Belt, so scientists questioned whether it should retain its initial term of being an asteroid.

According to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) there are three categories in which a celestial body could be placed in. The categories are Planet, Dwarf Planet and Plutoid.

The definition of a planet is a celestial body that is in orbit around the Sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape and has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit. On the other hand, the definition of a dwarf planet is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and is not a satellite.

The thin line that defined Ceres to be a dwarf planet was finally resolved when the IAU finally came up with the definitions. This particular planet also gets to remain its title because of its position in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres was discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801 and the name was derived from the Roman goddess. This dwarf planet was also the largest celestial body in the asteroid belt because it makes up almost one third of the belt’s total mass.

Ceres is also classified as carbonaceous because it fairly reflects one tenth of the light that falls upon it and the shape and dimensions of Ceres may be explained by an interior that is porous and either partially differentiated or completely undifferentiated. The presence of a layer of rock on top of ice would be gravitationally unstable. If any of the rock deposits sank into a layer of differentiated ice, salt deposits would be formed. Therefore water simply can’t form.

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