Ceres is the smallest identified dwarf planet in the Solar System and
the only one in the asteroid belt. It was discovered on 1 January 1801,
by Giuseppe Piazzi, and for half a century it was classified as the
eighth planet. It is named after Ceres, the Roman goddess of growing
plants, the harvest, and motherly love. With a diameter of about 950 km
(590 miles), Ceres is by far the largest and most massive body in the
asteroid belt, and contains a third (32%) of the belt's total mass.
Recent observations have revealed that it is spherical, unlike the
irregular shapes of smaller bodies with lower gravity. The surface of
Ceres is probably made of a mixture of water ice and various hydrated
minerals like carbonates and clays. Ceres appears to be differentiated
into a rocky core and ice mantle. It may harbour an ocean of liquid
water underneath its surface. From the Earth, Ceres' apparent magnitude
ranges from 6.7 to 9.3, and hence at its brightest it is still too dim
to be seen with the naked eye. On 27 September 2007, NASA launched the
Dawn space probe to explore Vesta (2011–2012) and Ceres (2015).
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Today's selected anniversaries:
The Kingdom of Ireland formally merged with the Kingdom of Great
Britain, adding St. Patrick's saltire to the Union Flag.
Lachlan Macquarie became Governor of New South Wales, eventually
playing a major role in the shaping of the social, economic and
architectural development of the colony in Australia.
The first Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, was first
held, eventually becoming an annual event that is currently watched on
television by millions in more than 200 countries and territories.
Cuban President Fulgencio Batista fled to the Dominican Republic as
forces under Fidel Castro took control of Havana, marking the end of
the Cuban Revolution.
The World Trade Organization, the international organization designed
to supervise and liberalize international trade, came into being,
replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
The act of exclaiming; violent outcry; vehement utterance of the voice
Wikiquote quote of the day:
The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if
society was eternal.
--E. M. Forster