Juno Asteroid Sky Map February 2015

This chart shows the movement of Juno over the next two weeks.
Credit: Starry Night software

Have you ever seen an asteroid? An asteroid is a small rock in space, smaller than a planet yet larger than a meteoroid, the rocks which cause meteors to flash across the night sky.

While we know of millions of asteroids today, they were totally unknown to astronomers until 17th century astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi spotted Ceres, the largest and first known asteroid, in the early hours of New Year’s Day in 1801. Over the next six years, three more asteroids were discovered, but it would be another 38 years before another would be found. It wasn’t until photography began to be used for astronomy that the huge number of these tiny bodies became clear.

This week, third asteroid ever to be discovered will be well placed for observation. This is Juno, discovered in 1804 by German astronomer Karl L. Harding. Juno is quite a small body, measuring only 170 miles (274 kilometers) across. To give you some idea of scale, Juno is large enough to fit in between the cities of New York and Boston.

via How to See Asteroid Juno in the Night Sky with Binoculars.