— NASA (@NASA) June 10, 2015
How well do you really know our Solar System?
Sure, we all know the basic planets (RIP Pluto), the Sun, the astroid belt, and maybe even a few moons. But what about all the dwarf planets out there?
A dwarf planet is defined as a celestial body that orbits the Sun and is large enough to have its own gravitational pull but hasn’t been able to “clear the neighborhood,” meaning there are still other comparably large objects (aside from its own satellites) in its orbital region. Long story short: if a given planet hasn’t collided with, consumed, or knocked out all other space debris aside from its own moon(s) from its trajectory, it’s a dwarf planet.
The International Astronomical Union recognizes five dwarf planets in our Solar System (Pluto is one of them), but experts estimate that there could be anywhere from 100-10,000. While we could talk all day about the mind-boggling awesomeness of the universe, we instead just wanted to show you this cool new footage that NASA put compiled from images taken by the Dawn probe.
Launched in 2007, Dawn first reached Ceres—the largest object in the asteroid belt—in March 2015 and has remained in its orbit ever since. Images taken by the spacecraft so far were used to creation this compilation video showing the dwarf planet in rotation. Watch it below:
How much do you really know about our Solar System?