Dwarf planet Ceres appears gray with white splotches in this image from the Dawn spacecraft.

Dwarf Planet Ceres Overview

Dwarf planet Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and it's the only dwarf planet located in the inner solar system. It was the first member of the asteroid belt to be discovered when Giuseppe Piazzi spotted it in 1801. When NASA's Dawn arrived in 2015, Ceres became the first dwarf planet to be explored by a spacecraft.

Called an asteroid for many years, Ceres is so much bigger and so different from its rocky neighbors that scientists classified it as a dwarf planet in 2006. Even though Ceres comprises 25% of the asteroid belt's total mass, Pluto is still 14 times more massive.

Ceres is named for the Roman goddess of corn and harvests. The word cereal comes from the same name.

Pop Culture

The largest body in the asteroid belt, Ceres has amassed a number of references in science fiction stories of the 20th and 21st centuries. In the TV series "The Expanse," Ceres is inhabited by humans, and in the PC Game Descent, one of the secret levels takes place on Ceres.

In the video game Destiny, Ceres was colonized by an alien race called the Fallen at the end of humanity's Golden Age. Ceres was later destroyed by a civilization of post-humans who inhabit the asteroid belt.

Ceres Images

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