Ceres may be an asteroid impersonator | Science News

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Ceres may be an asteroid impersonator

The largest member of the asteroid belt could have emigrated from the solar system’s fringe

By
5:39pm, July 15, 2008

If planetary scientist Bill McKinnon’s hunch is right, the largest asteroid in the solar system isn’t an asteroid at all. Ceres, as the 470-kilometer-wide object is called, may be a relative of Pluto that formed at the solar system’s fringes but came in from the cold several billion years ago.

McKinnon, based at WashingtonUniversity in St. Louis, said he was first struck by Ceres’ unusually low density — more similar to icy comets from the outer solar system than the rocky bodies found in the asteroid belt that lies between the or

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