Discovery of Ceres

2nd Centenary

1 January 1801 - 1 January 2001

Image of Ceres taked to Sormano Astronomical Observatory - Milan - Italy on 12/18/1998

About Giuseppe Piazzi

Father Giuseppe Piazzi, Discoverer of First Asteroid, Ceres

Father Giuseppe Piazzi,
the discoverer of Ceres

On 1st January 1801, in Palermo, the Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi (1746-1826) discovered Ceres, the first and largest asteroid. The discovery of Ceres followed that of the planet Uranus, made in 1781 by the British astronomer William Herschel (1783-1822). Piazzi's discovery confirmed the so-called "Titius-Bode's law", which assumed the existence of a "fifth planet" between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter. Later the German astronomer Johann Olbers discovered other "small planets", which the astronomical community called "asteroids" or "minor bodies of Solar System". Currently, we know over a thousand of these objects, an important subset of which, called NEA (Near Earth Asteroids), has become particularly important as their orbits cross the orbit of our planet, thus creating the risk of an impact on the earth's surface.


About Giuseppe Piazzi

Biography of Giuseppe Piazzi

(courtesy of Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo G.S. Vaiana)

Biography of Giuseppe Piazzi 

(courtesy of the Catholic Enciclopaedya)


Discovery of the Asteroids

History of the Discovery of Ceres
(courtesy of the Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo)

Recent history of the Palermo Astronomical Observatory 

Discovery of other planets

Astronomical Anniversaries



Why Ceres?
The last compute of Mass of Ceres
Ceres Residuals 



Some pages about asteroids and minor bodies from solar system
Other pages about asteroids (1)
Other pages about asteroids (2)
Other pages about asteroids (3)
Other pages about asteroids (4)
Ephemerides of the largest Asteroids
Asteroid Fact Sheet 

Last Modified: October 11, 2000