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GCSE Astronomy (Lawrence Smallman, YouTube Playlist)


Centaurs is a small Solar System body with either a perihelion or a semi-major axis between those of the outer planets. Centaurs generally have unstable orbits because they cross or have crossed the orbits of one or more of the giant planets; almost all their orbits have dynamic lifetimes of only a few million years. Centaurs typically exhibit the characteristics of both asteroids and comets. They are named after the mythological centaurs that were a mixture of horse and human. Observational bias toward large objects makes determination of the total centaur population difficult. Estimates for the number of centaurs more than 1 km in diameter range from 44,000 to more than 10,000,000. — Wikipedia

Centaur Object (Eric Weisstein’s World of Astronomy, Wolfram Research)
Centaurs (COSMOS: The SAO Encyclopedia of Astronomy)




10199 Chariklo is the largest confirmed centaur (small body of the outer Solar System). It orbits the Sun between Saturn and Uranus, grazing the orbit of Uranus. On 26 March 2014, astronomers announced the discovery of two rings (nicknamed as the rivers Oiapoque and Chuí) around Chariklo by observing a stellar occultation, making it the first minor planet known to have rings. Chariklo was discovered by James V. Scotti of the Spacewatch program on February 15, 1997. Chariklo is named after the nymph Chariclo, the wife of Chiron and the daughter of Apollo. — Wikipedia

10199 Chariklo (Solar System Exploration, NASA)

Proposed Centaur Mission Could Catch Comets in the Act of Formation (David Dickinson, Universe Today via Phys.org)

Small Bodies of the Solar System (NASA Science)
Solar System Exploration: Asteroids, Comets & Meteors (NASA)
Asteroids, Comets and Other Small Worlds (Planetary Society)

Centaur Asteroids (Wolfram Alpha)




2060 Chiron is a small Solar System body in the outer Solar System, orbiting the Sun between Saturn and Uranus. Discovered in 1977 by Charles Kowal, it was the first-identified member of a new class of objects now known as centaurs—bodies orbiting between the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt. Although it was initially called an asteroid and classified only as a minor planet with the designation “2060 Chiron,” in 1989 it was found to exhibit behavior typical of a comet. Today it is classified as both a minor planet and a comet, and is accordingly also known by the cometary designation 95P/Chiron. Chiron is named after the centaur Chiron in Greek mythology — Wikipedia

Chiron (Encyclopædia Britannica)
Chiron (Eric Weisstein’s World of Astronomy, Wolfram Research)




Minor Planet Center (International Astronomical Union)


Centaur Mission (Phys.org)

Solar System Body Small (Phys.org)
Asteroids, Comets and Meteors (Science Daily)



Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.

Knowledge Realm


Law (Constant) Relativity
Force Gravity, Electromagnetism (Light, Color)
Matter (Microscope) Molecule, Atom (Periodic Table), Particle

Universe (Astronomical Instrument)
Galaxy Milky Way, Andromeda
Planetary System Star, Brown Dwarf, Planet, Moon

Our Neighborhood
Solar System Sun
Terrestrial Planet Mercury, Venus, Earth (Moon), Mars
Asteroid Belt Ceres, Vesta
Jovian Planet Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Trans-Neptunian Object
Kuiper Belt Pluto, Haumea, Makemake
Scattered Disc Eris, Sedna, Planet X
Oort Cloud Etc. Scholz’s Star
Small Body Comet, Centaur, Asteroid


1.   The resources on this page are are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma.