Ceres, before reclassification to “dwarf planet” known as the asteroid 1 Ceres, is a large rock-ice body approximately 950 km in diameter.

It was discovered on 1st January 1801 and was the first asteroid to be identified as such, although thought to be a planet at that time.
Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

NASA has launched an unmanned spacecraft (Dawn) to explore the dwarf planet closely as soon as it arrives at Ceres in 2015.

The animated GIF which can be viewed below shows the movement in the sky of this asteroid during the period of just 2 days (Nov. 28, compared to Nov. 30, 2011).

Previous/older images:

Image data

Name Ceres
Type Dwarf planet
Discovered 1801
Diameter 945 km
Minor planet category Dwarf planet – Asteroid belt
Aphelion 2.97 AU
Perihelion 2.55 AU
Orbital period 4.60 y
Rotation period 9h 4m
Spectral type C
Abs. magnitude 3.36