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Astron. Astrophys. 334, 729-735 (1998)

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The mass of (1) Ceres from its gravitational perturbations on the orbits of 9 asteroids

B. Viateau and M. Rapaport

Observatoire de Bordeaux, URA 352, CNRS, BP 89, F-33270 Floirac, France

Received 23 December 1997 / Accepted 10 February 1998


The mass of (1) Ceres is about half of the total mass of the main asteroid belt, and its long-term perturbations on the orbits of many solar system objects are important. For this reason, a very good knowledge of this mass is necessary. Although many determinations of the mass of Ceres have been made until now, the uncertainty remaining on its value is yet too high. A determination of the mass of Ceres, based on its gravitational perturbations on the orbits of 9 asteroids, is presented. All the available observations of the perturbed asteroids were used. In particular, for the asteroids observed by Hipparcos, the very accurate Hipparcos data were added to the ground-based observations. Other accurate observations, recently made with the CCD meridian circles of Bordeaux and Valinhos (near São Paulo, Brazil) observatories, were also included. The value obtained for the mass of Ceres, [FORMULA] [FORMULA], is in good agreement with most recent results obtained by the other authors, and is a more precise value of this mass. In particular, this result shows that the value of the mass of Ceres recommended by IAU should be decreased by nearly [FORMULA].

Key words: minor planets, asteroids – astrometry – ephemerides – planets and satellites: individual: 1 Ceres

Send offprint requests to: B. Viateau


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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: May 15, 1998