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Solar system
Dwarf planet, Ceres

4.5 billion years, about the same age as the Sun


Solar system, asteroid belt

Avg. distance from the Sun

4.13 x 108 km (2.57 x 108 mi)


950 km (590 mi)


Approximately 9.4 x 1020 kg

Orbital period around the Sun

4.60 Earth years (1,680 days)

Number of moons


Distinguishing features

Ceres is the smallest-yet-identified dwarf planet and the only one in the asteroid belt. Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt, containing almost one-third of the region's total mass.

Dwarf planet, Ceres.

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"Fast Facts: Dwarf planet, Ceres" is a table that lists Ceres' age, location, average distance from the Sun, diameter, mass, orbital period around the Sun, number of moons, and distinguishing features. The text describes the location of this smallest of known dwarf planets. A picture of Ceres is included.

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Adaptable, at teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.

A reading activity. Give each student a planet-themed Fast Facts table. Ask students to locate specific object characteristics, such as the number of moons or the diameters of their respective planets.

A large-number recognition and ordering activity. Have students review several planet Fast Fact tables, including this one. Have students read the tables to find each planet's distance from the Sun. Then ask them to arrange the planets according to their distance from the Sun, from closest to farthest. Students also can arrange the planets according to their mass and/or diameter, from smallest to largest.

A unit conversion activity. Have students change the distances in either kilometers or miles into astronomical units. One astronomical unit (AU) is the average distance from Earth to the Sun, which equals 149,600,000 km, or 92,960,000 miles.

A compare/contrast activity. Have students review several Fast Facts tables for planets. Students match the planets to statements that describe a unique feature of each planet, such as: This planet is closest to the sun, or this is the largest known dwarf planet. Either the teacher or the students can generate the statements using information from the Fast Facts. Students also can create graphic organizers comparing the features of planets and dwarf planets.

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.


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