Asterois, also called minor planets or planetoids, are Solar System bodies smaller than planets but larger than meteoroids (which are commonly defined as being 10 meters across or less), and that are not comets. The distinction between asteroids and comets is made on visual appearance when discovered: comets must show a perceptible coma (a fuzzy "atmosphere"), while asteroids do not.

Trivia about asteroid

  • Sir William Herschel coined this word in 1802 writing, "They resemble small stars so much..."
  • Vesta is the only one of these minor planets between the orbits of Mars & Jupiter visible to the naked eye
  • On Sept. 29, 2004 Toutatis, one of these, will be close enough to the Earth to be seen with binoculars
  • Flora, one of these "roid"s discovered in 1847, orbits the sun at an average distance of about 200 million miles
  • A 1991 photo of Gaspra taken by the Galileo probe was the first close-up of one of these minor planets
  • In January 1999 a spacecraft called "NEAR" is due to go into orbit around Eros, one of these objects
  • Hidalgo, one of these objects, reaches the orbit of Saturn, but most are confined to a belt between Mars & Jupiter
  • In 1801 Giuseppe Piazzi discovered the first known one of these heavenly objects & dubbed it Ceres
  • On Feb. 12, 2001 the Near Shoemaker spacecraft landed on Eros, the first landing on one of these objects

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