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Small Bodies

Asteroid 4 Vesta
Mosaic of asteroid 4 Vesta from the Dawn spacecraft.

For this website, we define the term “Small Body” to include all natural bodies that are not a planet or natural satellite. This usually means all asteroids and comets, but can also include dwarf planets (e.g., Ceres) as small bodies. The IAU defines a slighly different term “Small Solar System Bodies” which excludes dwarf planets. See IAU resolution B5.

Description of Menu Items

PageDescription
Orbits & EphemeridesProvides access to orbital elements and ephemerides for all known small bodies.
Database LookupGiven a specific small-body designation, display available data related to that object including orbital elements, physical parameters, discovery circumstances, and many others.
Database QueryThis tools allows the user to find all small-bodies in our database that match zero or more user-specified constraints and either output the number of matching bodies or output specific fields of interest.
Mission DesignProvides the data required for rapid mission design to any small body in our database.
IdentificationGiven a specific date and time as well as specific region in the sky, display a list of all known small bodies within that region at that time.
What's Observable?Display a list of all small bodies observable (as defined by the user) from the specified topocentric observatory.
Meteor StreamsProvides a list of significant meteor streams with their parent small-body where known.
Mission TargetsProvides a sortable table of small bodies that are the target of current and past spacecraft missions.
SatellitesProvides a list of known and suspected satellites of small bodies. Selected orbital and physical parameters are provided as well where known.
Radar AstrometryProvides tables of radar astrometry of small bodies in various formats.
Diagrams and ChartsA collection of various diagrams (such as the solar system showing the main asteroid belt) and charts (such as distribution of orbital elements in the inner solar system) related to small bodies.
Gravity FieldsVisualize and download the gravity fields of several planets, the moon, and a few small-bodies.
Great CometsA table listing the dates when past great comets were observable by the naked eye.
Near-Earth ObjectsDefines the NEO category of objects and points to in-depth companion website.