Fast Facts for Kids
Asteroid Facts for Kids

Asteroid Facts for Kids

  • Common Name: Asteroid
  • IAU Classification: Minor Planet
  • Diameter Range: Between 3 Feet to 600 Miles
  • Composition: Icy, Metallic or Rocky
  • Known Population: 1+ Million in our Solar System
  • First Discovered: In 1801, by Giuseppe Piazzi
  • Largest: Ceres (1 Ceres)

21 Asteroid Facts For Kids

  1. An asteroid is an airless and rocky astronomical body that is left over from the formation of our Solar System.
  2. Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi discovered the first asteroid (Ceres) on January 1st, 1801.
  3. According to NASA, there are more than 1.11 million known asteroids in our Solar System.
  4. Asteroids are typically pitted or cratered with an irregular shape, but some asteroids due have a spherical shape.
  5. Asteroids come in a wide variety of sizes, they can be as small as a human or as big as the U.S. state of Texas.
  6. There are three broadly defined asteroid composition classes: C-type, S-type, and M-type.
  7. A C-type asteroid is carbonaceous and means it has a carbon-based composition.
  8. A M-type asteroid is metallic and means it has a metal-based composition.
  9. A S-type asteroid is silicaceous and means it has a silica-based composition.
  10. The largest source of asteroids in our Solar System is the Main Asteroid Belt.
  11. The Main Asteroid Belt is a region between Mars and Jupiter where millions of asteroids orbit the Sun.
  12. An asteroid that shares a planet’s orbit is called a trojan asteroid.
  13. Jupiter has a large population of trojan asteroids, more than 9,800.
  14. The largest asteroid in our Solar System is the dwarf planet Ceres with a diameter of 583 miles.
  15. The second largest asteroid in our Solar System is the minor planet Vesta with a diameter of 326 miles.
  16. The first asteroid to be studied up close by a spacecraft was 951 Gaspra by the Galileo space probe.
  17. An asteroid that has an orbit that brings it close to Earth is called a near-Earth asteroid (NEA).
  18. There are over 29,000 known near-Earth asteroids.
  19. Astronomers track near-Earth asteroids because they could have cataclysmic effect on Earth if they hit our planet.
  20. Scientists agree that the most likely cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by a massive asteroid strike. About 66 million years ago an asteroid between six to nine miles wide struck Earth and killed 75% of plant and animal life.
  21. The Tunguska event is currently the largest asteroid impact event to happen throughout human history. On June 30th, 1908, an asteroid is believed to have exploded over Russia in the Earth’s atmosphere. Luckily this occurred over an uninhabited area and only destroyed 830 square miles of forest. If this occurred over a major city it would have completely destroyed it.

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Asteroid Pictures

Pictures are one of the best ways for people to learning about something. That is why we are providing you with the below images to help you with your research on asteroids. Below you will find three pictures that represent asteroids. These pictures should help you better understand asteroids and what they look like.

Asteroids In Space

A picture of asteroids in space.

The Asteroid Belt In Our Solar System

A picture of the Asteroid Belt in our solar system.

Asteroid Impacting Earth

A picture of asteroid impacting Earth.

Asteroid Resources

Hopefully the above asteroid facts, data, stats, and pictures were helpful with your research. If you need to continue researching asteroids you can use one of the below websites. We selected the below websites for their credibility and accurate data on asteroids.