How Were the Minor Planets In the Solar System Discovered and When Was the Missing Planet Ceres Discovered?

Late in the eighteenth century, a mathematical equation, now called the Titius-Bode law, was formalized to figure out the distance between major planets.

It worked like this.

This equation shows a remarkably accurate prediction of planets’ distance from the Sun.

how were the minor planets in the solar system discovered and when was the missing planet ceres discovered scaled

In fact, Uranus was discovered after the equation was published, right where it should have been.

Between Mars and Jupiter, a planet seemed to be missing, so scientists went looking for it and found Ceres, and then the rest of the asteroid belt.

Ceres was discovered on 1 January 1801, by Italian Astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi.

The discovery of Neptune and Pluto, however, proved that the Titius-Bode law was nothing more than a mathematical oddity.

According to the law, Neptune should have been 38.8 AUs from the sun; it is 30. Pluto should be 77.2 AUs, but it is only 39.

While the Titius-Bode law is no longer considered accurate, it was useful for a for a short time.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.