C-type asteroids

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C-type or carbonaceous asteroids are the most abundant type of asteroid in the solar system. About 75% of all asteroids are C-type.[1][2]

Characteristics and composition

C-type asteroids are among the darkest objects in the solar system, having albedos that vary from 0.03 to 0.09.[2] They have a chemical composition similar to that of the Sun but lacking molecular hydrogen, helium, and other volatile elements.[1] Some have stated that their composition is like that of carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. C-type asteroids predominate in the outer reaches of the asteroid belt.[3]


The largest known C-type asteroid is Hygiea. Ceres would still be a C-type asteroid, were it not now classified as a dwarf planet.[3] The asteroid Mathilde is another example of a C-type asteroid.[4]

Observation and Exploration

C-type asteroids are too dim to view without a telescope.

The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission made rendezvous with and photographed the asteroid Mathilde in June 1997 en route to its rendezvous with the asteroid Eros.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Arnett, Bill. "Asteroids." The Nine 8 Planets, May 10, 2008. Accessed June 20, 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Asteroid Facts." The Planetary Society, n.d. Accessed June 20, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Burns, Philip R. "Asteroids." March 1, 2000. Accessed June 21, 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gordon, K. "Asteroids Close Up." Course syllabus, Astronomy 100L, California State University Long Beach, 2006-2007. Accessed June 21, 2008.