When Were Asteroids First Discovered?


2 Answers

E Jacobson Profile
E Jacobson answered
Asteroids were first discovered in 1800 on January 1st 1800 to be exact, by a Sicilian called Guiseppi Piazzi. He thought that they were actually planets and named the tow he found, Ceres and Pallas.
However, it was the astronomer William Herschel who actually discovered that they were in fact too small to be planets. He named them asteroids. This is devised from the Latin, which means starlike. This name has remained in common useage until today, however, some astronomers are irritated by this term and feel that the word 'planetoid' is far more descriptive.
After the initial findings of Piazzi and Herschel, a great deal of interest was shown in 'discovering' asteroids, with around a thousand having been noted before the end of the Century. However, it is now estimated that there are up to a billion to identify and name and we have only identified just over 26,000 so there is a long way to go.

Answer Question