World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Small Solar System body

Article Id: WHEBN0006661422
Reproduction Date:

Title: Small Solar System body  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Solar System, Asteroid, IAU definition of planet, P/2010 A2, Hydrostatic equilibrium
Collection: Minor Planets
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Small Solar System body

951 Gaspra, photographed by the Galileo probe, is a small Solar System body in the asteroid belt whose length is about 18 km.

A small Solar System body (SSSB) is an object in the Solar System that is neither a planet, nor a dwarf planet, nor a satellite. The term was first defined in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union.

All other objects, except satellites, orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar System Bodies" ... These currently include most of the Solar System asteroids, most Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), comets, and other small bodies.[1]

This encompasses all comets and all minor planets other than those that are dwarf planets. Thus SSSBs are: the classical asteroids with the exception of the dwarf planet Ceres; the trojans; and the centaurs and trans-Neptunian objects with the exception of Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, Eris, and others that may turn out to be dwarf planets.


  • Definition 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Distribution of centaurs and trans-Neptunian objects.

It is not presently clear whether a lower size bound will be established as part of the definition of small Solar System bodies in the future, or if it will encompass all material down to the level of meteoroids, the smallest macroscopic bodies in orbit around the Sun. (On a microscopic level there are even smaller objects such as interplanetary dust, particles of solar wind and free particles of hydrogen.)

Except for the largest, which are in hydrostatic equilibrium, natural satellites (moons) differ from small Solar System bodies not in size, but in their orbits. The orbits of natural satellites are not centered on the Sun, but around other Solar System objects such as planets, dwarf planets, and small Solar System bodies.

Some of the larger small Solar System bodies may be reclassified in future as dwarf planets, pending further examination to determine whether or not they are in hydrostatic equilibrium.

The orbits of the vast majority of small Solar System bodies are located in two distinct areas, namely the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt. These two belts possess some internal structure related to perturbations by the major planets (particularly Jupiter and Neptune, respectively), and have fairly loosely defined boundaries. Other areas of the Solar System also encompass small bodies in smaller concentrations. These include the near-Earth asteroids, centaurs, comets, and scattered disc objects.

See also


  1. ^ RESOLUTION B5 - Definition of a Planet in the Solar System (IAU)

External links

  • Expected Science Return of Spatially-Extended In-Situ Exploration at Small Solar System Bodies
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.